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Document and Benefit Fraud
02/17/2011

Idaho woman indicted for mail fraud and misuse of U.S. government seals

BOISE, Idaho - A Caldwell, Idaho, woman who operated an immigration consulting business was arrested Thursday for mail fraud and misuse of government seals following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Crystal Tijerina, 29, was indicted Feb. 8, by a federal grand jury. An arraignment date has not been set. The indictment charges Tijerina with devising a scheme to defraud victims by obtaining money through materially false and fraudulent pretenses using the U.S. Postal Service.

Tijerina operated "Soluciones Economicas," a business that purportedly assists aliens with filing immigration paperwork. Tijerina is charged with accepting money for fraudulent services, and fines and fees purportedly owed to the U.S. government. As part of the fraud scheme, Tijerina allegedly created phony documents bearing U.S. government seals, and then mailed them to the victims through the U.S. Postal Service.

Mail fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. Misuse of U.S. government seals is punishable by up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

"As is so often the case, most of the people who ended up being victimized by this defendant were trying to do the right thing and abide by the law," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Idaho. "Instead, they ended up being duped. This enforcement action should send a message about our collective resolve to seek justice for those who prey on the well intentioned and the vulnerable."

An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.