Grand Rapids Woman Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud Conspiracy In Scheme To Defraud Aliens Seeking Legal Status
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Jessica Marie Rubio, 32, of Grand Rapids, Michigan pleaded guilty before a U.S. Magistrate Judge to one count of wire fraud conspiracy in a scheme to defraud those without legal status in the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1349 and 1343. Rubio faces a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, 3 years’ supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense. The sentencing hearing will be held on October 1, 2020.
Rubio admitted at the plea hearing that over a six-year period in Michigan, Texas, and elsewhere, she solicited people who did not have legal status in the United States by assuming the identity of a Department of Homeland Security attorney and promised to prepare and expedite the immigration application process for them, which included the filing of numerous immigration forms to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") and the Department of Justice - Executive Office for Immigration Review. Rubio demanded payment for her services, purported to be legitimate fees, but knew that she did not and would not ever submit these forms on her clients’ behalf. At least 15 victims in Michigan and another 15 victims in Texas fell victim to this scheme, with total loss amounts calculated at $105,245 at the time of the guilty plea.
"This reprehensible scheme targeted people attempting to comply with the immigration laws of the United States, taking advantage of their hopes at the expense of the agencies that administer those immigration laws and our country in the process," U.S. Attorney Birge commented.
Maintaining the integrity of our nation’s immigration system remains one of the top priorities for the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"), Office of Inspector General ("OIG"). "To that end, the DHS OIG and our law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue and investigate those who disparage the reputation of the DHS or its employees. The agency has zero tolerance for those who prey upon the vulnerable who simply desire to become U.S. citizens, and will continue to work tirelessly to bring justice to those who commit such despicable acts," Acting Special Agent in Charge Todd Dennis, DHS OIG – Detroit Field Office said.
"Ms. Rubio’s conviction serves as an example to those who choose to victimize our community and undermine our nation’s legal system," said Special Agent in Charge, Shane Folden, Homeland Security Investigations ("HSI") - San Antonio Field Office. "She not only stole their money, but their American dream of obtaining legal status to remain in the United States. HSI will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement counterparts to investigate criminals who manipulate and exploit the legal system for their own personal gain and see that they are brought to justice."
The case was investigated by DHS OIG - Detroit Field Office, HSI - San Antonio Field Office, the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate of USCIS – Harlingen Field Office, Texas Department of Public Safety – Harlingen Criminal Investigations Division, and the Holland Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay M. West prosecuted the case.