Photo: Immigration fraud
Utah judicial authorities have asked for the public’s cooperation in gathering complaints against a man who defrauded dozens of Hispanic families by claiming he was an immigration agent.
Last Friday, agents from the Utah Attorney General’s Office SECURE Strike Force arrested Jose Marcos Gonzalez, who stands accused of communication fraud and theft by deception for promising six people that he would resolve their immigration situations.
After the arrest was announced, more than a dozen other people who were possibly defrauded approached the authorities to present complaints against Gonzalez, SECURE said.
Investigators determined that the amount of the fraud exceeded $100,000 and they said that there are still more victims who have not contacted the authorities.
“They need to come forward,” SECURE agent Leo Lucey said. “They’re victims in the case and they’ll be treated as victims.”
On Tuesday, SECURE confirmed the arrest of Gonzalez’s companion, Marlene Castro Sanchez, who has a criminal record.
Gonzalez had told his victims that he had worked for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and that, in exchange for a certain sum of money, usually $5,000, he could get them Green Cards or even citizenship documents.
Lucey told the media that Gonzalez focused on Latino immigrants, that he never worked for ICE and that his own immigration situation is being reviewed.
The investigation into Gonzalez’s actions was begun when one of the victims contacted SECURE and filed a complaint.
Tony Yapias, the president of the Proyecto Latino de Utah, said that “there are people who make others believe that they can get their papers in order if they pay thousands of dollars.”