Photo: Fake Immigration Agent sentenced
After pleading guilty to impersonating an immigration agent and stealing money from desperate undocumented immigrants, Tommie Rand Pierce will serve the next 57 months in prison.
For at least two years, the 68 year old man from Raleigh, North Carolina preyed on undocumented immigrants giving them false hope for legal citizen status while taking up to $5,000 from each victim. More than 265 falsified immigration applications were ‘filed’ by Pierce during his two year scam.
Investigators first became aware of Pierce’s scam in May of 2010 after receiving a copy of the Raleigh based newspaper, ‘La Conexion,’ from an attorney with the Justice Center’s Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, Katherine Woomer-Deters. The paper published an article which called Pierce a fraud while documenting pictures of his business cards. His cards described him as, “President and Chief Executive Officer of Consultor de Immigrations.”
According to Woomer-Deters, she believes that Pierce took advantage of many undocumented are desperate to obtain citizenship. Knowing many immigrants feared being caught, allowed Pierce to continue his scam without being questioned for at least two years. In an email Woomer-Deters stated, “These types of scams damage our communities in so many ways. Not only do they rob the victims of money and time, but they rob victims of trust in the system itself. The fact that Mr. Pierce was able to scam so many victims for so many years is a testament to how broken our system is and how little sense it makes.”
Sentenced on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Malcolm J. Howard, Pierce faces one felony count each of impersonating an agent of the United States, fraud and misuse of visas, permits as well as other forms of documentation.