A Los Angeles woman who allegedly operated a fraudulent immigration services business from her home pleaded not guilty Friday to 17 felony counts.
Dalila Moreno, 63, is charged with 10 counts of grand theft of personal property, three counts each of forgery and counterfeit seal and one count of extortion for crimes allegedly committed between May 2011 and October 2014.
If convicted as charged, she could face up to 14 years in state prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors allege that Moreno told her clients that she worked for the government, pretended to provide services by creating false visas and passport stamps and collected $129,000 from 13 victims without providing the promised services.
Moreno, who has been in custody since her Jan. 10 arrest, is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Feb. 13, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to allow the case against her to proceed to trial.
The case stemmed from an investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Human Trafficking Bureau and the District Attorney’s Office’s Consumer Protection Division.
Investigators believe there might be other victims and urged them to call the Consumer Protection Division’s hotline at (213) 257-2465.
In other news, a judge ordered the release of a convicted serial child molester.