Immigrants deported after exposing scam

May 11, 2009 at 2:58 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, May 11 (UPI) -- A Utah couple allegedly offered work visas for exposing an immigration scam instead are being deported to their native Uruguay, their lawyer said.

Richard Lemos and wife, Nancy Hernandez, are two of 28 undocumented immigrants in Utah ordered deported after testifying against Leticia Avila, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.

Avila allegedly used her Mormon church connections to con tens of thousands of dollars from church members trying to find a way to legally remain in the United States, said Leonor Perretta, an attorney for several of the deportees.

Critics call the case a classic example of illegal immigrants being exploited by criminals and the U.S. immigration system.

Four years after cooperating with law enforcement, the work visas allegedly promised Lemos and his wife never materialized, the case against Avila was dropped and her 28 alleged victims now have been ordered deported, Lemos told the Tribune.

A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said she could not comment on specific cases.

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