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| 12/2/2009 12:00:00 AM

Ex-Colombian legal aide held in scam

Dec 2--At least two dozen Colombian immigrants and their relatives were allegedly bilked more than $100,000 by a woman posing as an employee of the consul general of Colombia in Houston, officials at the Harris County Sheriff's Office said

Colombian native Maria Jose Hurtado, 44, was arrested Monday in Katy by sheriff's officers. She was charged with aggregate theft for offering everything from green cards to citizenship to immigrants but never providing the services.

“This was a pretty significant case,” said Lt. Jeff Stauber, with the sheriff's office.

The legal aide worked as a contractor for the consulate for 13 years but was fired in 2008 after a separate accusation of charging Colombians fees for her services at the office.

Before she was fired, she was allowed to enter an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center where immigrants about to be deported were housed. Consular officials are allowed to meet with detainees at the detention centers.
 
Read more here.
 
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