Oswaldo Rafael Cabrera, the owner of Coalición Latinoamericana Internacional in Los Angeles, who fraudulently posed as an attorney numerous times, defrauded immigrants and harmed multiple cases, was sentenced to five years and two months in prison after pleading guilty to three felony counts of grand larceny, attempted perjury and violating the Immigration Consultants Act.
His wife and accomplice, Maria Marcelina Rodas, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiring to violate the Immigration Consultants Act and was sentenced to three years probation.
Cabrera and his wife pleaded guilty during a hearing in a Los Angeles court yesterday, February 22..
After more immigrant complaints, prosecutor's office added criminal charges
When authorities arrested Cabrera in December 2016, he was facing 22 felony charges. Since that date, more victims reported him and on February 14 of this year, the California Attorney General's office added 36 additional charges against Cabrera.
Despite having 58 charges against him, Cabrera only pleaded guilty to three, considerably decreasing his sentence - from more than 13 years to just five and two months.
Rhodes was facing a maximum sentence of three years in prison, which was reduced to three years probation. But she is subject to physical imprisonment if she violates the terms of probation.
Permanent closure of the Latin American International Coalition for Victim Restitution
As part of the terms of the sentence reduction, Cabrera and Rodas must permanently close the business - the Latin American Coalition International and must reimburse their victims.
In addition, Rhodes is prohibited from offering immigration services.
The research conducted by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) revealed that Cabrera posed as an attorney when he was not and provided legal services, charging up to $$9,000 per case. But despite receiving the money, in many cases he failed to provide the promised services, or provided services that harmed the cases of several immigrants.
The next hearing in the case will be March 20, 2017, when the terms of the restitution of money to Cabrera's victims will be resolved.
Search for more victims
As I reported in 2015, complaints against Cabrera and the Latin American Coalition International had been surfacing for some time. In August 2014, I helped a woman recover her money and her immigration file, which Mr. Cabrera refused to return to her.
I thank the DCBA and the California State Attorney's Office for investigating and prosecuting Cabrera and Rodas.
The DCBA continues to call on individuals who have paid Cabrera or his organization Coalición Latinoamericana Internacional for immigration legal services and believe they have been victims of fraud to call to file a complaint at (323) 881-7099.