- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The owner of a Los Angeles employment agency is going to prison for filing phony work visa petitions on behalf of dozens of people who wanted to remain in the United States.

Lilia Tabafunda was sentenced Monday to two years in federal prison and told to repay more than $54,000. She pleaded guilty last year to fraud and perjury.

Prosecutors say Tabafunda charged up to $10,000 to submit work visa petitions for her clients - mainly Filipinos who entered the U.S. as tourists. The visas falsely claimed they’d been offered jobs with prominent U.S. hospitals and nonprofit organizations.

Tabafunda was arrested in October as she tried to board a cruise ship to Mexico.

A call to her attorney, Roman Mosqueda, seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.

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