Cabrera scammed thousands of dollars from victims hoping to become legal in the U.S.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
February 28, 2017
Los Angeles, CA – Oswaldo Rafael Cabrera, 48, was sentenced to five years and two months in a state prison after he was found guilty on multiple felony charges for grand theft, attempted perjury, and conspiracy to violate the Immigration Consultants Act. His wife, Maria Marcelina Rodas, 54, was sentenced to three years felony probation for conspiring to violate the Immigration Consultants Act. They both operated the Coalición Latinoamericana Internacional, a non-profit in Los Angeles.
The California Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case with the help of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fraud Detection and National Security also assisted with the investigation.
According to the criminal complaint, Cabrera often held himself out as an attorney and provided legal consultations and services, charging up to $9,000. Despite lacking accreditation or a license to practice law, Cabrera posed as an immigration lawyer and expert with a proven record of helping immigrants on major media platforms in both mainstream and Spanish-language media. The defendant used his prominent profile to solicit customers, whom he then duped.
Cabrera repeatedly misled his victims about the status of their cases, misinformed them about their eligibility for immigration relief, and completed immigration forms improperly while continuing to collect victims’ money. Cabrera also ignored or lied to victims in an attempt to avoid giving refunds, sometimes for thousands of dollars, while denying any wrongdoing. In some instances, Cabrera’s handling of immigration cases had irreparable consequences, leading to the deportation of victims’ family members.