Federal prosecutors accuse a California business owner of advertising services to help immigrants get citizenship and then pocketing her clients’ money without filing any paperwork.
The Virginian-Pilot reports Helen Kennedy, also known as Helen Abdi, was indicted last month in connection with an alleged fraud of more than $100,000 from victims across the country. The newspaper reported the woman mainly targeted Iranian immigrants in her online advertisements.
Under one advertisement video posted to YouTube, a commenter said Abdi was supposed to help with their family’s immigration case.
“After receiving the money she hasn’t even answered the phone,” the commenter wrote.
According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, Kennedy promised clients political asylum, visas, green cards and even citizenship if they paid a fee. The indictment says Kennedy pocketed the money and never submitted immigration paperwork on behalf of her clients.
Kennedy is charged with five counts of wire fraud. She’s currently out on bond.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Kosky and Kennedy’s attorney, Andrew Grindrod, declined to comment on the indictment.