Trial begins for woman accused of defrauding immigrants in Virginia

Rosa Sanchez Canete(Photo: Fairfax County Police)
Rose Marie Sanchez-Cañete (Photo: Fairfax County Police)

The case of Rose Marie Sanchez-CañeteRose Sanchez-Canete, also known as Rose Sanchez-Canete, accused of defrauding dozens of immigrants out of thousands of dollars, and who faces a total of five criminal charges - four for fraud and one for practicing law without a license, is scheduled to go to trial this week.

Virginia judicial authorities filed the charges against Sanchez-Cañete, executive director of the Latino Federation of Tenants Association (LAFEOTA) in Alexandria, after several former clients filed complaints against her.

According to the newspaper The Washington PostIn affidavits, former clients said they paid thousands of dollars in fees to LAFEOTA, but had their immigration applications denied or never submitted to the government.

In some cases, LAFEOTA is accused of filing fraudulent asylum applications to obtain temporary work permits for immigrants.

The Virginia State Attorney's Office of the Fairfax County District Attorney alleges that Sanchez-Cañete led clients to believe she was an immigration attorney, charging fees of $$5,250 for services that, in many instances, she did not even provide.

A dozen former clients are willing to testify against Sanchez-Cañete.

If found guilty, she could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.

Sánchez-Cañete denies the accusations.

However, an internet search shows that LAFEOTA appears in several listings as an immigration consulting service. On Google, at least two people wrote in complaining about the service.

Below, you can see some examples:


Also, you can see examples of applications for labor certifications submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor by Sanchez-Cañete by clicking here. click here and here.

LAFEOTA is a non-profit corporation. registered in Washington, DC since January 1990. The organization is also registered in Virginia since December 2008.

In both registrations, Jesús Sánchez-Cañete appears as the corporation's agent of record. In 1991, Mr. Sanchez-Cañete was accused of defrauding a group of tenants of more than $$20,000..

Rose Marie Sanchez-Cañete's case is just one of several around the country in which authorities have charged or prosecuted people who have defrauded or practiced law without a license, harming immigrants.

In Los Angeles, the criminal case of Gloria Saucedo, Carmen Onchi, Maria Sanchez and Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional of Panorama City, California, accused of defrauding immigrants and practicing law without a license, is still pending.