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Document and Benefit Fraud

Woman who impersonated ICE officer sentenced to 30 months in prison

NEW YORK — A Mount Vernon, N.Y., woman was sentenced Monday to 30 months in prison for false personation, aggravated identity theft and bank fraud. The sentencing is a result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Marion Sarah Francis, 48, stole another woman's identity and falsely identified herself as an ICE officer capable of providing paid assistance in immigration matters.

"The impersonation of a federal official is a serious crime," said Terence S. Opiola, special agent in charge of OPR in the Northeast. "When an individual uses an official government title to dupe trusting individuals out of thousands of dollars, it undermines the legitimate immigration process and tarnishes the reputation of hard working civil servants. OPR is dedicated to protecting the public and aggressively pursuing predators who are engaged in these types of crimes."

According to the complaint, in January 2011, Francis approached an individual at a bus stop in the Bronx, New York. Francis told the woman that she worked for ICE and offered to help her legalize her status in the United States. Francis claimed to have information that the victim was in the process of being deported, and said that she would be able to help if the woman paid her. In total, the victim paid Francis approximately $9,000. Francis similarly defrauded another woman of approximately $4,000 by offering immigration assistance.

Using the same stolen identity, Francis also committed bank fraud. According to the complaint, Francis identified herself as a home health aide and as a cleaning lady and scammed two elderly victims by writing fraudulent checks from their accounts and depositing the checks into her own bank account.

Francis will serve up to 2 ½ years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Francis also forfeited $40,000 to the government.

This case was prosecuted by the U.S Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.