PHILADELPHIA —On January 21, 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced that a New Jersey woman entered a plea of guilty before a United States District Court Judge to seven counts of mail fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft arising from a scheme to defraud people who sought her help pursuing legitimate immigration status in the United States, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Ana Molina, 56, owned and operated Ana Molina & Associates, a/k/a Molina Multilegal Services, on Castor Avenue in Philadelphia, PA, through which she falsely claimed to be an attorney (or at times a paralegal) who could obtain lawful immigration status for them from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Molina charged her clients approximately $1,500 to register for permanent legal residency or otherwise adjust immigration status, and she charged approximately $500 to provide a “sponsor” for those applicants who did not already have one. Sponsors are typically United States citizens who have sufficient financial resources to ensure that an applicant will not likely become dependent on financial assistance from the United States government. For the alleged “sponsors,” Molina used personal identification information, including bank statements and tax returns, which belonged to former clients without their knowledge or consent. Molina prepared and mailed the applications and other forms that contained the false information about the applicants and their alleged “sponsors” to USCIS.
“This defendant took advantage of people trying to do the right thing and seek lawful status in this country,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Williams. “Her clients were from foreign countries, were unfamiliar with our laws and regulations, and trusted Molina to help them, rendering them vulnerable targets for her scam. We stand ready with our federal partners to investigate and prosecute fraud offenses like this one that prey on law abiding victims.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anita Eve. USCIS’ Fraud Detection and National Security unit provided significant support to this investigation.