3 Accused of Selling Fake Citizenship Papers

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    Montgomery County police arrested three suspects in a scheme where the victims were offered fraudulent U.S. citizenship.

    One of the suspects also has been charged with operating a medical practice without a license.

    3 Arrested in Maryland Immigration Scam

    [DC] 3 Arrested in Maryland Immigration Scam
    Montgomery County police arrested three people for allegedly offering fraudulent citizenships in exchange for cash. (Published Friday, Apr 30, 2010)

    The immigration scam was run out of a house on Cactus Court in Gaithersburg, Md., police said. Erlinda Marin has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of theft and practicing medicine without a license.

    "Our investigation reveals five victims were defrauded of $97,000," Montgomery County police Corp. Dan Friz said. "She would say that's what you have to pay to get citizenship papers."

    Marin's daughter, Sandra Marin Rivera, would fingerprint them at an exorbitant fee of $1,200 police said.

    A neighbor who lives right next door noticed people -- some disabled, some with children -- showing up for medical treatment. She also noticed a man who appeared to be a federal immigration agent.

    "He was wearing a jacket that said 'ICE,'" Najaira Subatti said. "He was carrying a gun and driving a cruiser that said 'police' on the side."

    Robert Mejia, of Germantown, is charged in the theft scheme and with impersonating a police officer, specifically a federal immigration and customs enforcement or ICE agent. His presence was meant to make it look like a legitimate operation, Friz said.

    Casa De Maryland represents the immigrant community.

    "Our community is preyed upon," said Gustavo Andrade, of CASA de Maryland. "It is taken advantage of."

    Montgomery County Police want to talk to anyone else who may have been victims of the scheme. They are especially concerned about anyone who may have sought medical attention from Erlinda Marin.