Gloria Saucedo, the activist and director of Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional in Panorama City, California, failed to appear in court to answer criminal charges for allegedly defrauding undocumented immigrants and practicing law without a license.
Neither did his partners Carmen Onchi and María Chávez, who are facing criminal charges for the same thing, show their faces in court.
Only Mark Rosen, Ms. Saucedo's attorney, appeared in court on her behalf during the hearing on Friday, April 15, 2016.
Due to her absence, the hearing was postponed until April 25, when Ms. Saucedo must plead not guilty or guilty to the charges.
According to Mr. Rigoberto Reyes, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs, since Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed charges against the three women and Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional on March 31, they have received two dozen more complaints about Ms. Saucedo and her organization and they are being investigated.
Onica Cole, an attorney for the U.S. Attorney's Office in charge of the case against the defendants and Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, said that depending on the investigation of these additional complaints, they could amend the indictment to add more charges.
Meanwhile, during the hearing, they filed legal documents requesting a restraining order for the defendants not to contact the victims. They also requested that Ms. Saucedo be present at the next hearing.
Ms. Saucedo's lawyer insisted that she has done nothing wrong. He also accused the Prosecutor's Office of pursuing the case against the activist as a political maneuver, because attorney Cole is running for a position as a judge and this would help her electoral campaign.
What must be emphasized here is that Mrs. Saucedo did not appear in court. Why? Her lawyer said that she is a private person and they want to avoid a media circus. However, for years Ms. Saucedo and Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional have used the media for their purposes and have always been quick to give television interviews.
If she loves the community as much as she says she does, she should now come forward and not avoid appearing in court, nor run from the cameras.
As allegations continue to emerge from immigrants accusing her of defrauding or neglecting their immigration cases, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office should seek a restraining order to prevent Ms. Saucedo and Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional from representing individuals in immigration proceedings.
The most important thing in this case is to protect immigrants whose cases may be harmed by receiving inappropriate legal advice.
You cannot gamble with the future of immigrants who are only looking for a better life in this country.
Here you can see a report on what happened during the hearing: