ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment, which was unsealed today, charging a Brazilian woman with falsely posing as an immigration lawyer and defrauding her clients of approximately $700,000.
According to the indictment, Patricia De Oliveira Souza Lelis Bolin, 29, a resident of Arlington, posed as an immigration lawyer able to help foreign clients obtain E-2 and EB-5 visas to the United States. The EB-5 program provides lawful permanent residency, and possible citizenship, if a foreign national invests substantial funds—typically, a minimum of $1 million—in qualifying job-creating enterprises in the United States.
According to the indictment, on September 22, 2021, Lelis Bolin sent a legal retainer agreement to a victim for help in obtaining EB-5 visas for the victim’s parents. The victim made two initial payments totaling over $135,000 based on Lelis Bolin’s representation that the money was going into a Texas real estate development project that qualified for the EB-5 program. Instead, the victim’s money is alleged to have gone into Lelis Bolin’s personal bank account. Rather than investing the money as promised, Lelis Bolin allegedly used it for a downpayment on her Arlington townhouse, bathroom renovations, and paying other personal expenses, such as credit card debt.
According to the indictment, to cover up the scheme and to obtain more money, Lelis Bolin allegedly provided a victim with a fabricated U.S. District Court pleading with a false case number showing her as the litigating attorney. Lelis Bolin is not a licensed attorney. She is also alleged to have falsified U.S. immigration forms, forged multiple signatures, and created fake receipts from the Texas investment project, all of which she emailed to a victim. Lelis Bolin also allegedly created false personas associated with the Texas investment fund and sent emails from those individuals to try to obtain even more money. The indictment alleges she talked friends into posing as employees of the Texas investment fund in phone calls and video calls with a victim. When a victim finally refused to send her any more money, Lelis Bolin allegedly threatened the victim’s parents with removal from the United States and then referred them to a collections agency.
Lelis Bolin is charged with wire fraud, unlawful monetary transactions, and aggravated identity theft. Lelis Bolin faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if she is convicted of engaging in wire fraud, a maximum 10 years if convicted of unlawful monetary transactions, and a mandatory minimum of two additional years in prison if she is convicted of aggravated identity theft. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
At the time of publication of this press release, Lelis Bolin is not in law enforcement custody. If any members of the public have information regarding the whereabouts of Lelis Bolin, they are encouraged to contact the FBI’s Washington Field Office at (202) 278-2000 or the FBI’s tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). Information may also be submitted online using FBI’s electronic tips form at https://tips.fbi.gov.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and David Geist, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, made the announcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Russell Carlberg and Drew Bradylyons are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:24-cr-2.
An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.