Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Undocumented" ICE Agent

Only in Utah...
Feds say a man conned victims by posing as an LDS immigration agent
By Pamela Manson
The Salt Lake Tribune Updated: 03/12/2009 06:32:30 AM MDT

Federal prosecutors say a Salt Lake City man impersonating an immigration agent stole thousands of dollars from undocumented immigrants hoping to become legal residents, finding some of his victims through church meetings.

A complaint unsealed this week alleges Hillmar Ivan Jerez, 37, did nothing to help his clients and threatened them with deportation when they questioned why no progress had been made in their cases.

According to an affidavit by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, Jerez charged $1,500 to $5,000 per person to handle the legalization process. He allegedly claimed to work for ICE in Murray but met immigrants at his home to fill out paperwork.

Jerez -- who his alleged victims knew as Ivan -- met some of the immigrants through mutual friends in The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints and told two of them that he was honored to "fulfill prophecy" by helping to return natives of Latin America to the United States, the affidavit says.

It recounts the experiences of five immigrants who paid Jerez in the past year to help them, and says some of them -- including one who tipped off authorities in January -- said they knew other foreign nationals who were conned.

The tipster said he paid $6,500 for application help for himself and other family members but never got a receipt because Jerez said that would cause a delay. Jerez allegedly claimed that cash would allow him to back date their cases for faster processing.

One woman, identified in the complaint as Z.C., said that after she filled out some forms at Jerez's home, he demanded sex from her and threatened to have one of her children deported when she refused.

Z.C. said she received "increasingly hostile and aggressive" phone calls and text messages from Jerez in the next month demanding either sex or more money to complete the legalization process. She also said Jerez took photos of her child at an LDS dance activity they both attended.

A software engineer listed as M.J. alleges that he paid $5,000 but had no progress in his case.

Several months later, in December, Jerez asked for help with his home computer and M.J. said he made a copy of the hard drive. Later, at his own home, he allegedly found files titled "How to Manipulate People," "Terrorist Handbook/Bomb Making" and "How to Kill Someone Without Getting Caught," among others.

No comments:

Post a Comment