Jennifer Martinez: Posing As A Bribe-able Immigration Official

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A woman who posed as an immigration officer took cash from hopeful immigrants, promising to get the papers, will get almost five years in prison for her trouble.

Jennifer Martinez, 36, of McAllen, was sentenced here in Houston today to 57 months without parole for fraud.

At one point she met with a couple in the Galleria here, and they handed her $3,000 to get papers, prosecutors said. Martinez was also ordered to pay "$236,430 in restitution to numerous persons victimized by her scheme," although weren't those victims knowingly paying bribes to get in the country illegally? Immigration can be so confusing.

Martinez' scheme blew up when authorities got a tip an immigration officer was taking money to get papers for people. An investigation soon revealed the suspect wasn't quite an immigration officer.

The arrest of Martinez in November 2009 is the result of an 18 month-investigation by special agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which was initiated following the receipt of a complaint alleging misconduct by a Jennifer Martinez who was purportedly an immigration service employee selling immigration documents in Alamo, Texas.

Through their investigation, ICE agents determined Martinez was not employed by the United States and did not have the ability to assist anyone through the immigration process, but had nonetheless posed as a federal immigration officer and fraudulently obtained thousands of dollars from a number of victims between January 2007 and November 2009 for immigration documents that were never delivered

None of the contact information Martinez had given her "customers" was valid, but she was eventually tracked down.

Upon her release, she'll be subject to three years of close supervision.

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