May 27, 2015
Las Vegas, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced that Norma Olga Benavidez, 60, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to theft, a category “B” felony, stemming from stealing tens of thousands of dollars from victims in an immigration assistance scam. Benavidez engaged in the scam between March 2012 and March 2014.
As part of the immigration scam, Benavidez victimized those seeking legal status in the United States by falsely claiming to be a federal government employee who worked closely with a fictitious person she identified as the “Chief of Immigration.” Benavidez fraudulently promised victims that she could assist them with paperwork related to their lawful status in the United States in exchange for significant fees, totaling more than $50,000. In reality, Benavidez could not and did not perform the promised services.
“My office remains vigilant about enforcing the rule of law and protecting all consumers from being defrauded, especially the most vulnerable in our society,” said Laxalt. “Immigrants already deal with many challenges, and should not also be faced with exploitation by unscrupulous fraudsters. Criminal prosecutions of this kind will remain a priority in this office.”
Benavidez entered a guilty plea in the Eighth Judicial District Court on one count of theft in the amount of $3,500 or more. As part of her plea agreement, she is obligated to pay restitution of more than $50,000 to 11 different victims.
This case was investigated and prosecuted by the Fraud Unit of the Office of the Nevada Attorney General.
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