Oswaldo Rafael Cabrera, the owner of Coalición Latinoamericana Internacional in Los Angeles, and his wife and accomplice Maria Marcelina Rodas, were in Los Angeles Superior Court today to be arraigned on criminal charges against them for defrauding immigrants.
Through public defenders, both pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Cabrera faces 22 counts of grand theft, attempted grand theft, attempted perjury and conspiracy to unlawfully practice law.
All charges are felonies. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 13 years and 4 months in prison.
Rodas faces a charge of conspiracy to violate the immigration consultant law by committing multiple unlawful acts along with her husband. The conspiracy charge is considered a felony. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
Cabrera and Rodas, arrested on Wednesday, have since remained in jail. Cabrera has a bail of $650,000 and Rodas of $40,000.
During the hearing, the prosecutor in charge of the case said that they recovered approximately 1,200 of Cabrera's client files during the search of his offices and are reviewing them to determine if they identify more victims. If so, the charges against Cabrera could be increased.
As I reported yesterday, the California State Attorney's Office filed the charges against Cabrera after the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs investigated multiple complaints from alleged victims of Cabrera.
The arrest warrant record alleges that Cabrera often presented himself as an attorney, gave legal advice and rendered legal services, charging up to $$9,000, despite not being authorized or licensed to practice law.
According to the criminal indictmentOn numerous occasions Cabrera posed as an attorney, provided unauthorized legal services for thousands of dollars, deceived his victims about the status of their cases, and offered to perform immigration procedures for which they were not eligible, harming and even causing the deportation of family members.
Judge Gustavo Sztraicher set the date for the preliminary hearing for December 22, 2016.