In a particularly targeted and allegedly heinous scheme, a former Holland woman has been accused of ripping off undocumented immigrants. According to reports, the woman faces 7 criminal counts in Michigan Western District federal court, including one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, several counts of wire fraud and two counts of false personation of a U.S. official. The scheme was several years long and included attempts to target immigrants looking for U.S. citizenship. She claimed to be a person who could help aid immigrants in their process of seeking and attaining citizenship.
However, the woman has no ties to the Department of Homeland Security and is not an attorney like she allegedly claimed. She told hopeful citizens that she could 'fast track' their applications for citizenship. In certain cases, she is accused of claiming that she could conceal criminal history from immigration authorities. In return for her services, she amassed over $75,000 from hopeful immigrants looking to become citizens.
There were allegedly transactions made across state lines, which is one reason she is facing federal charges. Also, impersonating a federal official can carry charges in federal court. If convicted, she could face penalties of up to several decades in prison. With this type of crime, those preying on the undocumented immigrant community often go undetected. This is because the victims fear reporting the perpetrator to authorities, as it can expose them to additional risk.
The only real way to gain citizenship is to go through the immigration law process. There are no shortcuts in this process. However, that doesn't give any person the right to promise citizenship in exchange for financial exchanges. This woman who is accused of such a crime will stand her day in court and will have a ruling on these charges.