Tampa Woman Pleads Guilty to Charges Related to Immigration Fraud Scheme Stretching from Tampa to Chicago
TAMPA, Fla. — Erika Paola Intriago pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with a fraud scheme involving her posing as an immigration attorney to victims in Chicago and Tampa. Intriago faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to court documents, 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 in any state.
Victims retained and paid Intriago to represent them in immigration-related matters before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and other agencies. To prove that she was acting on the victims’ behalf, Intriago sent fraudulent letters, emails, receipts, documents, and communications to her victims, fraudulently representing that these 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, 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.
“This defendant preyed on vulnerable individuals by egregiously misrepresenting herself and forging government documents. USCIS has zero tolerance for immigration fraud and works vigilantly to protect our immigration system,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “USCIS is dedicated to identifying and exposing immigration fraud schemes, and we are proud to have partnered with ICE and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to shut down this illegal and deceptive practice.”
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 the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and USCIS. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Murray.