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East L.A. Woman Admits to $303K Immigration Service Scam

A woman pleaded guilty Thursday to running an immigration services fraud scheme out of her East Los Angeles home that bilked 32 people out of more than $330,000, authorities said.

Under a negotiated plea deal,┬áDalila Moreno admitted to six counts of making a counterfeit seal, three counts of forgery, one count of grand theft and one count of extortion, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement.

“Moreno is expected to to be sentenced to nine years in county jail and three years of mandatory supervision,” the statement said. A sentencing and restitution hearing is set for Dec. 7 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The scam went on for several years, ending in 2015, officials said.

“Moreno told her 32 victims she worked for the government and had special government connections, then falsely promised to expedite the processing of visas, resident alien cards and citizenship petitions,” the DA’s office said. “She pretended to provide services by creating false visas and passport stamps for which she collected payment from the victims.”

Prosecutors first charged Moreno in January with 17 felony counts related to 14 victims, but the case grew larger as investigators identified additional victims.

Prosecutors ultimately filed 38 felony charges against Moreno. She potentially faced up to 28 years in prison if she had gone to trial and been convicted as charged.