Immigration Law

Former employee stole 2 lawyers' identities to defraud immigrants, says indictment

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A former employee of two Texas attorneys has been federally indicted for allegedly stealing their identities in a scheme to defraud undocumented immigrants and their families.

Jessica Rivas Alva, 35, is accused of faxing forged letters purporting to be from the two San Antonio lawyers to detention centers in Louisiana. She did not work for the lawyers at the time of the claimed crimes, but used their names and state bar numbers in the letters, says a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Western District of Texas.

The letters allegedly enabled Alva to gain entry to the detention centers, where she urged immigrants to have family members deposit money into her bank account. Although Alva is not herself a lawyer, she offered legal representation in exchange for the payments, the feds say.

At the time, a Texas court order prohibited Alva from entering any immigration facility unless accompanied by an attorney.

She is charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The Associated Press, KENS and KSAT have stories but do not provide any comment from Alva or her legal counsel. At last report she was being held in Louisiana and awaiting transfer to Texas.

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