Convicted man posing as attorney defrauds immigrants, victims sought

Crime
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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are looking for more victims of a three-time convicted criminal who pleaded guilty last week to defrauding several immigrants.

According to a news release, Federico Garcia Jr., 44, admitted to posing as an immigration attorney from November 2015 to May 2018.

Officials say he charged various fees to documented and undocumented immigrants who sought assistance in applying for benefits. 

Garcia, who is not a licensed attorney, carried out the scheme under the business names “Justice International” and “High End Immigrant Resource Center”, according to the release.

Investigators say he also solicited victims to invest in fraudulent business ventures that claimed to provide large returns.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Garcia was previously convicted for bribery of a public official and sentenced to nine years in prison in 1998. 

In 2014, he received a 33-month sentence for participating in a fraudulent document scheme.

Garcia faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the latest conviction. He remains in federal custody and is expected to be sentenced on Jan. 17.

“Operating out of pure greed, Federico Garcia Jr. falsely represented himself to be able to assist desperate people,” said Special Agent in Charge Jack P. Staton of HSI El Paso. “Since we suspect that Garcia may have duped other victims, we hope these individuals will come forward.

Anyone with information is asked to call the ICE toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or use its online tip form at www.ice.gov/tipline.

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