Los Angeles Paralegal Pleads Guilty To Role In Visa Fraud

July 3, 2022

A Los Angeles paralegal pleaded guilty Monday, June 6, to  participating in a scheme to violate U.S. immigration laws by preparing and filing bogus documents that sought permanent residency and citizenship for members of a Philippines-based church.

Maria De Leon, 73, a resident of Koreatown and the owner of a legal document service, entered her plea to a single conspiracy charge, which carries a sentence of up to five years behind bars, according to the Department of Justice.

Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 12.

The defendant admitted her part in the scheme with administrators of the church, which is known as the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name, according to her plea agreement.

De Leon acknowledged that for eight years she helped commit marriage and visa fraud with the leaders of the church, which has a facility in Van Nuys.

De Leon is one of nine defendants charged in November in a 42-count indictment that alleges a labor-trafficking scheme that used fraudulently obtained visas to bring church members to the United States, where they were forced to solicit donations for a bogus charity.

Read the full story on Los Angeles Daily News.