On Tuesday, January 16, 2024, BnnBreaking reported that a Brazilian woman living in Virginia has been indicted on charges related to an alleged immigration fraud scheme that prosecutors say defrauded victims out of over $700,000.
Patricia De Oliveira Souza Lelis Bolin, 29, of Arlington, Virginia was charged with wire fraud, unlawful monetary transactions, and aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment, Bolin operated an immigration consulting firm where she fraudulently represented herself as a licensed immigration lawyer.
Prosecutors say Bolin promised foreign nationals she could help them obtain various visas, including E-2 and EB-5 visas, that could lead to lawful permanent resident status or citizenship. These services were contingent on large investments in business projects Bolin claimed would meet the job creation requirements of the visa programs. However, victims’ funds were instead misappropriated by Bolin to pay for personal expenses such as a down payment on a home and bathroom renovations, according to the indictment.
One victim allegedly paid Bolin more than $135,000 for an investment in a fake Texas real estate project being used to qualify for an EB-5 visa. When another victim stopped payments, Bolin was accused of threatening to report the victim’s parents to immigration authorities or send the case to collections.
If convicted, Bolin faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, 10 years for unlawful monetary transactions, and a mandatory minimum of two years for aggravated identity theft. She remains free pending trial and authorities are searching for her current whereabouts.