In yet another abuse of America’s generous asylum system, a Florida man posing as an immigration attorney allegedly duped numerous illegal aliens into retaining his services.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is looking for additional victims of a Tampa area man charged Monday with a 25-count indictment including eight counts of mail fraud, eight counts of making false statements in immigration documents, and nine counts of aggravated identity theft,” an ICE press release said.
Elvis Harold Reyes, 56, allegedly ran a sham company called EHR Ministries Inc., where he wore many hats, including “immigration attorney, pastor, accountant, immigration expert, former immigration official and former federal law enforcement officer.”
He is not an attorney, and never has been, but duped Spanish-speaking illegal aliens into retaining his services to help them acquire driver’s licenses and apply for asylum in the United States
“Victims retained and paid Reyes to represent them in immigration-related matters before USCIS and other agencies,” ICE said. “Reyes allegedly filed fraudulent immigration applications in the victims’ names, seeking asylum relief and withholding-of-removal protections provided for under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.”
According to the federal immigration agency, Reyes fabricated stories about threats of persecution on the asylum applications without the knowledge of those who retained his services.
Mail fraud carries a sentence of up to 20 years per count if convicted, and each false statement count is punishable by up to 15 years in jail if Reyes is convicted. The aggravated identity theft charges have a harsher sentencing guideline which requires a mandatory minimum sentence of two years if convicted.
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