A Rhode Island woman has pleaded guilty to her role on a scheme in which she defrauded immigrants out of $800,000 by promising to provide documents that would allow them to legally live in the United States.
Federal prosecutors say 53-year-old Patria Zuniga, of Woonsocket, pleaded guilty to eight counts of wire fraud Thursday in Worcester federal court.
She faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 per count of wire fraud at sentencing scheduled for May 24.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz's office says Zuniga preyed on immigrants without lawful status or temporary legal status in the country for three years beginning in 2009.
Zuniga said she could help them obtain permanent resident immigration status, and threatened them with deportation is they did not pay.