Southampton woman accused of defrauding immigrants

Posted: Updated:

 A Southampton woman is facing several felony charges for allegedly charging immigrants bogus fees while she was working at Immigration Legal Services of Long Island.

Maria Sanchez-Dios, 39, was arrested last month. Police say she pocketed extra cash and stole more than a $1,000 from several victims. Her charges include fraud and grand larceny

Investigators tell News 12 the scheme was uncovered by the company she was working for.

"They had done an audit, which alerted them to a situation," says Lt. Susan Ralph, of the Southampton Police Department. "And after continuing the audit they found additional victims. They were extremely helpful, they brought this to the police department and they have been cooperating fully with the investigation."

Immigrant advocate Minerva Perez, with the Organizacion Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island, says scams like this are far too common in the Latino community because many are afraid to come forward.

Perez says anyone seeking legal help with immigration status should make sure to never pay cash, get copies of all documents, never sign a blank document and never sign false information.

Police say there could be more victims still out there. They ask anyone with information to call Southampton police at 631-728-5000.

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