Man involved in immigration fraud scheme pleads guilty - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Man involved in immigration fraud scheme pleads guilty

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Tijuana man who posed as an immigration attorney in San Ysidro and collected money for immigration-related services that were never supplied pleaded guilty Friday to felony grand theft and misdemeanor practicing law without a license.

Alberto Rodrigo Garcia, 50, changed his plea on the day his preliminary hearing was to take place.

The defendant - who has no prior record - will be sentenced to probation by Judge Laura Halgren at a March 4 hearing.

The judge ordered Garcia released as long as he lives in the United States, refrains from immigration consulting and acts as a tax preparer only if he is properly licensed, said Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gianera.

Garcia was arrested Nov. 1 at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.

HSI agents began investigating Garcia in May after receiving a tip. The probe identified two victims who paid more than $5,000 for what they believed were legitimate immigration services by Garcia, Gianera said.

Investigators are going through three file cabinets to see if more people may have been victimized by Garcia, she said.

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