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Feds: W. Mich. woman took thousands from undocumented immigrants

By Jaleesa Irizarry/WZZM-TV • Nov 2, 2018 at 9:47 PM

HOLLAND — A West Michigan woman is facing federal charges after she allegedly swindled people out of thousands of dollars in Ottawa and Allegan Counties.

Jessica Rubio was indicted by federal authorities on seven charges including wire fraud and false personation.

A 15 page indictment filed in early October in Federal Court revealed the details on how Rubio managed to scam immigrants for nearly seven years.

The 30-year-old faces seven charges after court records indicate she solicited people who didn't have legal status in the U.S. Rubio would allegedly tell people she was an attorney or worked for the Department of Homeland Security and said she could expedite applications, release people from immigrant detention or help in concealing criminal history from immigrant authorities.

"We now have a climate that's ripe for abuse and has created even more vulnerability in the immigrant and refugee community," attorney and founder of Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates, Sarah Yore-Van Oosterhout, said.

Yore-Van Oosterhout told 13 ON YOUR SIDE, given the political climate there's a heightened fear for those in the country illegally and unfortunately some take full advantage of that.

"They know what sort of risks exist for these families and yet they still are preying upon them and they do it because its easy money," Yore-Van Oosterhout, continued.

Court documents indicate Rubio managed to get more than $75,0000 between Allegan County, Ottawa County, and some transactions in Texas.

But Rubio is allegedly no stranger to fraudulent acts, on Oct 29 she was arraigned on two charges of false pretenses at Holland's Ottawa County 58th District Court. False pretenses means she allegedly intended to defraud or use a false pretense to get money or something of value from someone.

Court records show the incidents happened in 2013 and 2015 but it's not clear if these are connected to the federal case.

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