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Press Release

Mississippi Woman Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements to New Orleans Immigration Court

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. announced that MARINA ARNEDO ROJAS-ZAYED, age 34, a resident of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, pled guilty in federal court today to one count of making false statements to an agency of the United States.

According to court records, from on or about July 2012 until on or about August 2013, ROJAS-ZAYED represented before the New Orleans Immigration Court, that she was a licensed attorney in the state of Alabama, when in truth she knew she was not a licensed attorney.  During hearings before the New Orleans Immigration Court, she appeared and assumed the role of attorney for aliens, albeit fraudulently. When Immigration Judges referred to ROJAS-ZAYED as “counsel,” she did not inform the judges that she was not in fact, a licensed attorney.  Additionally, ROJAS-ZAYED entered her notice of appearance on behalf of aliens in approximately 42 immigration cases before at least five different Immigration Courts in the United States. Specifically, she submitted numerous documents to the Immigration Courts indicating she was a licensed attorney although she is not.

ROJAS-ZAYED faces a possible maximum term of imprisonment of five years, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release following imprisonment.  U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo set sentencing for January 7, 2016.

U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia K. Evans is in charge of this prosecution.

Updated February 4, 2016