A former employee of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling money from the application fees of aliens applying to become naturalized citizens.
The former INS clerk, Lucresia Quintero, entered her plea before U.S. Magistrate Irma E. Gonzalez, who set sentencing for Feb. 2. As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Quintero agreed to pay $1,000 in restitution to the immigration agency. She could face a year in custody and a $25,000 fine for the misdemeanor conviction.
U.S. Atty. Peter K. Nunez said that while working for the INS in April and May, Quintero accepted several $50 application fees from amnesty seekers and failed to turn the money over to the proper authorities. To cover her tracks, Quintero issued false petition numbers to the applicants, Nunez said.
Gonzalez allowed Quintero to remain free on $5,000 bail until sentencing.