Fake lawyer pleads guilty to defrauding immigrants; more of his victims sought

Federico Garcia
Federico Garcia, Jr. (Photo: ICE)

A former employee of the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was arrested again in El Paso, Texas, for impersonating an attorney and defrauding numerous legal and undocumented immigrants.

Federico Garcia Jr., 44, convicted twice before of defrauding immigrants, pleaded guilty to the charges and faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

Garcia, who worked for the INS in the 1990s, admitted that from November 2015 through May 2018 he committed fraud by identifying himself as an immigration attorney, charging fees to aliens who sought assistance in applying for immigration benefits. These immigrants did not know that Garcia was not an attorney and was not licensed to practice law.

Garcia also solicited victims to invest in fraudulent commercial businesses that would supposedly provide large profits.

The fake lawyer operated his fraudulent scheme under the trade names "Justice International" and "High End Immigrant Resource Center".

Federico Garcia arrest 2013
Federico Garcia is arrested by ICE in 2013. (Photo: ICE)

Previous convictions

In 1998, Garcia was convicted of bribery of a public official and sentenced to nine years in prison.

In 2014, he was sentenced to 33 months in prison for selling forged immigration documents, including employment authorization cards, visas and other documents, defrauding more than 50 people of approximately $$100,000.

Garcia remains in federal custody and will be sentenced in El Paso on January 17, 2019.

Search for more victims

Agents in charge of the investigation say Garcia Jr.'s greed led him to falsely represent that he could help desperate people. As a result, they suspect Garcia may have duped more victims than they have identified so far.

If anyone has information about this case, they can call the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or use their online tip form at www.ice.gov/tipline. TTY for hearing impaired only: (802) 872-6196.