SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – A woman offering immigration services in San Jose is facing charges for allegedly defrauding customers seeking help in their applications, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives with the Notario Fraud Unit said a husband and wife came forward, saying they paid the suspect about $5,000 to complete a citizenship and visa application.
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The suspect told the clients over a span of four years that she submitted their application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS. Detectives said the suspect did not submit applications to USCIS, kept the victims’ money and did not provide refunds.
As a result, the couple could not visit their home country to visit their dying relatives, detectives said.
In another case, detectives said another client paid about $1,000 to apply for Deferred Action under the DACA program. An application was not sent and money was not returned.
The victim lost a scholarship and an opportunity to attend a local trade school, the sheriff’s office said.
Detectives said they interviewed the suspect, identified as 36-year-old Jasmine E. Sanchez at her office at the Tropicana Shopping Center on Story Road. The detectives determined she did not submit immigration paper work or accounted her client’s transactions.
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Sanchez also allegedly claimed to be a bonded immigration consultant with the California Secretary of State’s Office and displayed an expired bond certificate in her office.
According to state records, Sanchez did not have authorization by the Secretary of State or the State of California. Sanchez received a cease and desist letter from state officials in 2018.
On Saturday, Sanchez turned herself in to a bail bonds person. She faces charges of grand theft, theft by false pretenses and violations of the Immigration Consultant Act.
It was not immediately known when Sanchez would appear in court.
Deputies said Sanchez’s alleged victims are working with immigration lawyers to help attain citizenship.
According to the sheriff’s office, an immigration consultant must have a $100,000 surety bond, submit to a background check and file a disclosure notice with the Secretary of State. Immigration consultants are not attorneys, cannot provide legal advice and are required to notify customers.
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Anyone who may have been a victim is asked to contact detectives with the sheriff’s office at 408-808-4599 or by emailing email@example.com.