Judith Palma, a Honduran national who also went by the name Roma Smith, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for defrauding more than 30 immigrants whom she had promised to help obtain legal status and process immigration documents in the United States.
Palma pleaded guilty to 17 felony counts of robbery this past Thursday, August 17 - six months after his arrest in Indianapolis, Indiana on February 10 of this year.
Prosecutors charged her with stealing nearly $$68,000 from 31 immigrants for fraudulent services. However, it is believed that Palma may have victimized as many as 170 people.
According to authorities, Palma met her victims at churches and offered her services, assuring them that she had a connection at the Indianapolis Immigration Office who helped her obtain legal permanent residency and other documents for undocumented immigrants.
In addition to the prison sentence, Palma was ordered to pay $$274,113 in restitution to his victims.
This is not the first time the Honduran woman has been accused of defrauding immigrants. In 2009, Palma pleaded guilty to a similar fraud in Indianapolis. She was sentenced to two years in prison and deported. But she re-entered the country and resumed her fraudulent activities until her arrest.
I thank the Marion County, Indiana District Attorney's Office for investigating and prosecuting Judith Palma. I especially want to thank the lawyers, investigators and interpreters of the Grand Jury Division and the Attorney Terry R. Curry for all the work they have done to help the immigrant community.