HSI investigation results in arrest of 2 men for involvement in attorney impersonation scheme
SAN ANTONIO - Two men were arrested Oct. 12 for their alleged involvement in an attorney impersonation scheme following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Jose Maria Guerrero, 68, and Rodolfo Solis Zepeda, 75, both from San Antonio, were arrested and charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and five counts of false statements.
According to court documents, beginning in December 2019, Guerrero and Solis-Zepeda devised a scheme to have Guerrero, who is not a licensed attorney, impersonate Zepeda, who is a licensed attorney, in telephonic immigration court hearings. Guerrero was formerly a Texas-licensed attorney who resigned from the State bar of Texas in lieu of disciplinary actions in 2016. Zepeda, or one of his employees, gave Zepeda’s law firm’s business phone number to the immigration court for use during the telephonic hearings. The call from the immigration court was then forwarded to Guerrero’s personal cell phone. Guerrero would claim to be Zepeda and proceed with the hearing. HSI agents identified at least 100 different occasions where Guerrero appeared as Zepeda before immigration courts.
A federal district court judge will determine their sentence after considering the U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison on each of the six counts.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Chung, Western District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.
For more news and information on HSI San Antonio’s efforts to aggressively investigate document and benefit fraud follow us on Twitter: @HSI_SanAntonio.
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.