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Document and Benefit Fraud
10/21/2010

ICE nabs Puerto Rican woman for impersonating a federal officer and harboring illegal aliens

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Alicia Domench-Van Rhyn, 50, of San Juan, was arrested Wednesday on charges of impersonating a federal agent and harboring illegal aliens, following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

According to the criminal complaint, on or about February 2009, Domench-Van Rhyn met with an undocumented alien identified as RMG and introduced herself as an immigration agent with more than 15 years of experience and presented a government identification.

Domenech-Van Rhyn offered her services as an immigration agent to RMG and charged him $19,000 for a legal permanent residence registration card for himself and one for his common law wife.

Under this elaborate fraudulent scheme, RMG paid Domenech-Van Rhyn $7,500 in wire transfers and U.S. currency for her services as an immigration agent.

The payments stopped when RMG discovered the fraud and confronted Domench-Van Rhyn. As a result of this confrontation, Domenech-Van Rhyn threatened the life of RMG, his common law wife, and their unborn daughter at that time.

The criminal complaint further alleges that on or about March 2009, Domenech-Van Rhyn was introduced as an immigration agent to another undocumented alien by the boat captain who smuggled 12 illegal aliens into the United States. Domenech-Van Rhyn presented herself as an immigration agent using the name of Ivette López and flashed her "immigration government identification" at him to identify herself.

She then mentioned that, in addition to being an immigration agent, she was a close relative of an immigration judge for the District of Puerto Rico. Domenech-Van Rhyn then interviewed the alien and charged $12,000 for assisting him in acquiring his "immigration papers."

Days later, the alien paid Domenech-Van Rhyn the $12,000 she charged him to acquire fraudulent immigration papers, knowing alien was illegally present in the United States.

If convicted, Domenech-Van Rhyn could face up to 20 years in prison.