- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey woman who posed as an attorney to steal roughly $100,000 from more than two dozen people who were living in the country illegally is now headed to prison.

Union County prosecutors say 46-year-old Maritza Chavez of Elizabeth received a 10-year sentence Friday and also must pay restitution, though that amount has not been determined. She had pleaded guilty in January to two separate indictments containing 26 counts overall of theft by deception.

Prosecutors say Chavez represented herself as an attorney and made empty promises to help them obtain citizenship papers.

Chavez told clients she would file documents with federal immigration officials on their behalf and charged anywhere from $80 to $6,000 per client. Prosecutors say the fees were for “legal services” that she wasn’t trained to perform.

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