|Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
|For Immediate Release
December February 5th, 2004
(714) 347-8405 (O)
(714) 323-4486 (C)
Santa Ana – Two Anaheim men appeared in court today to face charges of 17 counts of immigration fraud. Carlos Hernandez Cortez, 50, and his son Carlos Hernandez Lugo, 31, are charged with felony grand theft, felony attempt-subornation of perjury under oath and several misdemeanor charges—all related to defrauding immigrants out of money. If convicted on all 17 counts, the defendants face up to nine (9) years in state prison. Bail has been set at $1,000,000 for each defendant.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office began an investigation of the father-son team 8-months ago after receiving complaints from local residents. The two defendants are accused of running an illegal immigration business that offered clients work permits and permanent residency in the United States in exchange for $3,000. The defendants told clients (victims) that they could help them obtain valid work permits and residency by going through an immigration hearing. They would have their victims sign documents, which many did not know, were political asylum requests. Cortez and Lugo would instruct the victims on what to say and accompany them to each hearing. Cortez and Lugo would also provide the victims with income tax returns and an attorney to prove their case. In the end, the victims would be automatically set-up for deportation proceedings because Mexican nationals do not generally qualify for asylum in the United States. They would subsequently be deported and Cortez and Lugo would keep the money.
Cortez and Lugo were arrested Wednesday morning at their apartment on the 600 block of Ventura Avenue, in Anaheim. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has set up a hotline for victims of this fraud. The number is (714) 347-8874. Deputy District Attorney Cheri Pham is handling the case. The next court date for Cortez and Lugo is February 20th at 9 a.m. in the Central Justice Center, 700 Civic Center Drive, Dept. C-55.