False Promises: Immigration Services Fraud and Felony Grand Theft
LOS ANGELES – A supposed immigration attorney landed himself in the slammer for duping his clients with promises of new beginnings in the USA.
First of all, thirty-five victims were defrauded for immigration services they never received. Luring clients with false promises of expedited visa processing, resident alien cards and citizenship petitions, etc., Augusto “Tito” Gonzalez De La Cruz (58) of Upland duped his victims and charged them handsomely.
Tito admitted to an allegation of property loss over $200,000 over the past 12 years, starting in 2006. Deputy District Atty. Tito pleaded no contest to seven felony counts of grand theft.
Subsequently, the Los Angeles DA’s Office had set up a telephone hotline. 15 more victims called in needing help, adding to the original 20 defrauded clients. The victims were primarily from Los Angeles County.
Finally, five years in county jail and $404,000 in restitution payments to the 35 victims was the immediate result. The suspect had four years of mandatory supervision added to his sentence. This was part of the negotiated plea agreement.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey leads the largest local prosecutorial office in the nation. She has a staff of nearly 1,000 attorneys, 300 investigators and 800 support staff members. They are dedicated to protecting our community through the fair and ethical pursuit of justice and safeguarding crime victims’ rights.