Jerome Woman Indicted For Mail Fraud
BOISE — Celia Perez, 40, of Jerome, Idaho, turned herself in to federal authorities today on mail fraud charges, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. On October 8, 2013, a federal grand jury in Boise indicted Perez on the charges. An arraignment date has not been set.
The indictment charges Perez with devising a scheme to defraud victims by obtaining money by materially false and fraudulent pretenses through the use of the U.S. Postal Service. The indictment alleges Perez represented herself as an immigration attorney, and purported to assist aliens with filing immigration paperwork. Perez allegedly accepted money from the victims for fraudulent services, and fines and fees purportedly owed to the U.S. Government. As part of the scheme to defraud, Perez allegedly created fraudulent invoices for the fines and fees, and then had the victims mail their payments to her through the U.S. Postal Service. The indictment alleges Perez did not file any immigration petitions on behalf of the victims, and that she obtained approximately $30,000 from the victims as a result of the fraud scheme.
Mail fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.