TUCSON, Ariz. – A local woman was sentenced Jan. 14, to 18 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) related to wire fraud and impersonating an actual immigration attorney.
Elvira Contreras, 38, of Tucson, falsely represented to undocumented alien victims that she worked for ICE or that she was an immigration attorney who could obtain U.S. immigration documents/benefits for them for a fee. Further, as part of her scheme, Contreras falsely impersonated a local immigration attorney Doralina Luna. Defendant was also order to pay nearly $90,000 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Jennifer Zipps, who oversaw this case.
According to the indictment Contreras pleaded guilty to wire fraud on September 18, 2019, after acknowledging that from 2014 to 2018, she "knowingly, willfully, and with the intend to defraud" promised to obtain immigration benefits and documents such as U-visas, citizenship status and contractor’s license to several victims. The defendant knew she could not provide any such services but regardless still excepted cash, casher checks, and orchestrated various wire transfers.
The sentencing document further details the lengths she went through to defraud the numerous victims by purposely misrepresenting an immigration attorney and at times and ICE agent.
This case is part of an ongoing, nationwide effort OPR to target unscrupulous immigration practitioners and combat the unauthorized practice of immigration law. The initiative relies on federal, state and local resources to combat the widespread problem of unauthorized practice of immigration law. People who feel they've been hurt in similar scams can contact ICE at www.ice.gov or call 1-866-DHS-2ICE.