- Associated Press - Sunday, April 30, 2017

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - Two Rhode Island sisters are headed to federal prison for participating with their mother in a scheme that defrauded immigrants in Massachusetts out of more than $700,000.

Indranis Rocheford and Alba Pena, both of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, were each sentenced last week to more than two years behind bars. The sisters were convicted of wire fraud charges in February.

Federal authorities say Rocheford, Pena and their mother, Patria Zuniga, preyed on immigrants- including some from the Worcester area- without lawful status or temporary legal status in the country for three years beginning in 2009.

Authorities say Zuniga said she could help them obtain permanent resident immigration status, and threatened them with deportation if they didn’t pay.

Zuniga was sentenced to prison last summer after pleading guilty to wire fraud.

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