NewsIndiaTimes - page 27

News India Times August 26, 2016
27
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IMMIGRATION
Latino advocate in Virginia found
guilty of defrauding immigrants
T
he leader of a Virginia organization
for Latino immigrants was found
guilty of fraud Thursday after a jury
found that she had cheated two clients out
of several thousand dollars while posing as
a licensed attorney.
A Fairfax County jury recommended that
Rose SanchezCanete, 48, serve two years in
jail and pay $5,000 in fines for falsely
promising to help two immigrants in the
country illegally obtain legal status.
The trial, which beganMonday, tapped into
a growing problemwith immigration fraud
nationwide as people from Latin America,
Asia and Africa seek to gain U.S. asylum or
other forms of legal status by turning to
unscrupulous notaries public, tax preparers
and nonprofit organizations that promise
affordable and fast results.
During the past three years, about 150
people in the Washington area have said
they were tricked out of fees by a person not
licensed to practice law or otherwise
accredited to appear in immigration courts,
said Anne Schaufele, an attorney with the
Ayuda nonprofit group who works to
prevent such cases of “notario fraud.”
Officials at the Justice Department’s
Executive Office for Immigration Review—
which oversees the nation’s 58 immigration
courts — said they have received 400 fraud
complaints since 2012.
SanchezCanete is director of the Latino
Federation of Tenants Organization in
Alexandria (LAFEOTA), an organization
that started in the 1980s to help Latino
immigrants with landlordtenant disputes.
Since 1996, the organization has been
investigated 10 times by the Virginia State
Bar for suspected immigration fraud.
On Thursday, SanchezCanete was found
guilty of promising two of her clients green
cards when both were in the country
illegally and had no chance of gaining legal
status.
The jury found her not guilty of another
felony fraud charge involving a third client.
In each of the cases in which she was
convicted, SanchezCanete charged several
thousand dollars in fees for her services,
according to the office of Fairfax County
Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh.
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