News release originally published by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida
Tampa Woman Indicted for Immigration Fraud Scheme Stretching from Tampa to Chicago
TAMPA, FL. – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Erika Paola Intriago (44, Tampa) with four counts of wire fraud and three counts of wrongfully using government seals. If convicted, Intriago faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud and up to five years in federal prison for each count of wrongfully using government seals.
According to the indictment, Intriago portrayed herself as an immigration attorney and personal representative offering immigration-related services. She advertised her services on social media, targeting immigrants and immigrant families from Spanish-speaking countries. In fact, Intriago was not a licensed attorney.
Victims retained and paid Intriago to represent them in immigration-related matters before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and other agencies. To show that she was acting on the victims’ behalf, Intriago sent fraudulent letters, emails, receipts, documents and communications to her victims fraudulently representing that the records were legitimate communications sent from agencies of the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS. In actuality, Intriago had either never filed the necessary immigration paperwork, or had abandoned the immigration process, or the applications had already been denied without Intriago informing the victims. Intriago also threatened and intimidated victims who complained about her conduct by telling them that she would report their immigration status to U.S. immigration authorities, which Intriago claimed would result in the victims being deported.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
Any person who was, or knows of someone who may have been, a possible victim is urged to contact the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or http://www.ice.gov/webform/hsi-tip-form.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and USCIS. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Murray.