- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - Prosecutors say a northern New Jersey woman stole roughly $100,000 from more than two dozen people who were living in the country illegally by making empty promises to help them obtain citizenship papers.

Union County prosecutors say 45-year-old Maritza Chavez of Elizabeth pleaded guilty Monday to two separate indictments containing 26 counts overall of theft by deception. She faces up to 10 years in prison when she’s sentenced March 14 and will pay $104,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors say Chavez represented herself as an attorney and told clients she would file documents with federal immigration officials on their behalf. She charged anywhere from $80 to $6,000 per client for what she described as legal services, which she wasn’t trained to perform.

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