An East Los Angeles woman was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison for defrauding 32 people seeking immigration services, according to the L.A. County district attorney’s office.
An L.A. County Superior Court judge also ordered Dalila Moreno, 64, to pay the victims $303,500 in restitution. Moreno will be subject to three years of mandatory supervision after serving her prison term.
Moreno pleaded guilty in August to 12 felony counts: six of counterfeit seal, three of forgery, one of grand theft of personal property, one of attempted grand theft of personal property and one of extortion. She admitted to taking property valued at more than $65,000 in her plea deal.
Moreno operated a fraudulent immigration services business out of her home for several years, according to the district attorney’s office. She told victims she worked for the government and had special connections, prosecutors said.
She promised to expedite the processing of visas, green cards and citizenship petitions, prosecutors said. She pretended to provide those services by creating fake visas and passport stamps, for which she collected payment.
Moreno was arrested Jan. 10 and has been in jail since.
According to the American Bar Assn., people who falsely claim to be qualified to offer immigration advice or services routinely target immigrants. Misrepresentations sometimes result in immigrants being unnecessarily deported.