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Press Release

El Paso Woman Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud, Impersonation of Federal Employee

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

EL PASO, Texas – An El Paso woman pleaded guilty Monday to 11 counts related to wire fraud and impersonation of a federal employee.

According to court documents, Ana Maria Hernandez, 53, portrayed herself to be a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) employee and defrauded numerous undocumented noncitizen victims and their family members by falsely representing that she would process their immigration applications for a substantial fee. Hernandez’s victims provided her with the documentation required to file and adjust their immigration status.  She was not an employee of CIS and never took any actions to adjust the victims’ status. Investigation revealed that Hernandez had amassed thousands of dollars of unexplained wealth within the 18 months coinciding with her fraudulent activity.  Following her arrest on Jan. 23, 2023, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas and the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) El Paso Division began receiving calls from dozens of potential victims in Hernandez’s fraud scheme.

Hernandez pleaded guilty to 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of impersonating an employee of the United States. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment on each wire fraud count and three years on the impersonation count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.  A sentencing date has not yet been set.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Francisco B. Burrola of the HSI El Paso Division made the announcement.

HSI is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Aguayo is prosecuting the case.


Updated April 11, 2023

Financial Fraud