Los Angeles Couple Sentenced for Defrauding Immigrants

LOS ANGELES – A husband and wife who defrauded undocumented immigrants by posing as an immigration lawyer and a consultant have been sentenced to prison and felony probation following an investigation by California Department of Justice special agents, and federal and local law enforcement investigators.

“To prey on vulnerable undocumented immigrants who need assistance making their way through a complicated system, taking their hard-earned money and not following through on promises and not properly completing their forms is unconscionable,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.  “This investigation involved law enforcement officers for the local, state and federal level and has resulted in prison time for one individual and probation for another.”

Oswaldo Rafael Cabrera, the owner and operator of Coalicion Latinoamericana Internacional (CLI) was sentenced to five years and two months in state prison after pleading guilty to felony charges of grand theft, attempted perjury, and conspiracy to violate the Immigration Consultants Act.

His wife, Maria Marcelina Rodas, was sentenced to three years of felony probation for charges that she conspired to violate the Immigration  Consultants Act.

Cabrera, who is not a licensed attorney, posed as an immigration lawyer and provided legal consultations and services, charging up to $9,000.  He misled his victims about the status of their cases, misinformed them about their eligibility for immigration relief and completed immigration forms improperly while continuing to collect victms’ money.  In some cases, Cabrera’s handling of immigration cases lead to the deportation of victims’ family members.

In addition to the California Department of Justice, the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement assisted with this case.

The sentencing was announced  on February 22, 2017

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