Fake immigration consultant Sara Salcido convicted of defrauding immigrants in California

Sara Arcelia Salcido
A judge found Sara Arcelia Salcido guilty of illegally practicing law and stealing thousands of dollars from immigrants who used her services.
(Photo: Riverside Sheriff's Department)

A judge in Riverside County found Sara Arcelia Salcido guilty of multiple counts of grand theft for illegally receiving payments while posing as an immigration consultant.

The judge ruled that Salcido, a 40-year-old Cathedral City resident, stole thousands of dollars from undocumented immigrants for services she illegally offered and, in some cases, never performed.

After hearing all of the evidence in the case, Judge John G. Evans convicted Salcido of six counts of felony theft, two counts of misdemeanor theft and one misdemeanor theft. for illegally receiving compensation while posing as an immigration consultant.

Salcido is due back in court on January 20, 2017 to be sentenced for the crimes. Due to the charges against her, she faces a maximum sentence of up to five years and four months in county jail.

The conviction and upcoming sentencing will bring to an end the criminal case against Salcido that began with an investigation by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office in May 2015.

How the case against Sara Salcido began

The case against Salcido began with a consumer complaint about his services.

The investigation revealed that Salcido was operating her business illegally. Salcido is not licensed to practice law in California and is not registered and did not meet the state's requirements to practice as an immigration consultant.

According to evidence obtained during the investigation, Salcido received payments for services he was not authorized to provide. Authorities estimate that he worked illegally for several years and that he the money he received, legally considered as theft under false pretenses, possibly exceeds US$$500,000.

The criminal complaint states that Salcido charged $$35,000 to 10 alleged victims. However, in California, unlawful practice of law cases have a three-year limit for inclusion in criminal complaints. Therefore, cases prior to the past three years cannot be included.

Salcido was arrested on August 27, 2015. The judge sentenced her yesterday, November 28, 2016.

The Riverside County District Attorney's Office is still looking for more of Salcido's victims. You can make your report by calling Investigator Matthew Remmers or Deputy District Attorney Bryan Boutwell at 951-955-5400 or toll-free at 1-800-599-9973.

Why immigration consultants should be avoided

This is one more example of why you should not go to immigration consultants. Salcido scammed several people. According to some media reportsSome victims indicated that they paid thousands of dollars and she never filed their cases with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

It is of utmost importance that they do not put their immigration futures at risk. Especially at this time, when it is unknown what the next president of the United States will do when he or she takes office in January.

Make sure you go with a licensed attorney or a federally accredited representative who is experienced and does not have a criminal record. Take the time to investigate the credentials of the person to whom you will entrust your immigration case.

Remember, sometimes cheap is expensive. If you go to an immigration consultant because you think they can do the job for you at a lower cost, you can get hurt. I often hear of cases of consultants who end up charging immigrants more than an attorney.

Don't be guided just because a person appears on television. For example, look at the case of Gloria Saucedo, of Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional of Panorama City, California. She is seen on TV as an activist and director of her organization, but the reality is that she was recently found guilty of practicing law without a license and multiple immigrants filed complaints against Saucedo for negligence and for hurting their immigration cases.

His case is still in court, where testimony is being heard from his victims in the process of restitution for the thousands of dollars Saucedo was paid for shoddy work.

Restitution to her victims is part of a plea agreement that Saucedo, the director of Panorama City's Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, agreed to in order to avoid going to trial.