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Woman sentenced for defrauding U.S. citizen hopefuls

Those who dream of one day coming to the United States in hopes of a better life often find themselves victims of fraudulent schemes. There are many unscrupulous people who offer to assist hopeful immigrants or even promise to procure U.S. citizen papers for a price. North Carolina residents who have suffered from similar schemes may be interested in just such a story from another state.

A federal judge recently presided over a hearing in which a local businesswoman entered a guilty plea for attempting to scam approximately 20 victims. She purportedly offered to assist undocumented immigrants by promising to get their applications for citizenship processed quickly. An investigation by a local media outlet supposedly helped to expose the woman's treachery.

She initially claimed that the funds she received were presents and did not constitute payment in exchange for her assistance. She collected an estimated $144,000 dollars from her relatives and friends. One woman claimed to have sacrificed much in an effort to pay $20,000 to obtain the coveted documents.

Following the woman's guilty plea, the judge ordered that she forfeit her restaurant. She could face up to 120 years in federal prison when she is sentenced in March of next year. Furthermore, if she is ever released, she will be deported back to her country of origin. Her victims have endured significant financial hardship and may never recoup all of their losses. North Carolina residents who have reason to suspect they, too, have been defrauded or treated unfairly in the process of obtaining their own U.S. citizen documents may seek assistance concerning their rights under current legislation.

Source: foxsanantonio.com, "Restaurant owner pleads guilty in U.S. citizenship scam case", Dec. 12, 2014

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