Woman arrested for immigration services scam

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's office has arrested a woman, they say was running an immigration services scam. They believe she was taking money for help with visas, DACA filings, and other services that she was not actually providing.

Authorities say Ivonne Castillo, who was neither licensed nor bonded. She was arrested yesterday on charges of Grand Theft.

This woman, who spoke to us through a translator, trusted Castillo to file her DACA paperwork.
It was never sent.

She says, "She's playing with all of our minds cause she's trying to trick us to make us feel like we can become legal here. But what she's doing is very wrong for all of us."

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's office confiscated boxes of paperwork from Castillo's office on Bascom Avenue.

They say so far seven victims have come forward. But they suspect there may be more.

Lt. Jose Cardoza of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office says, "It's not untypical for some of our victims to be a thousand dollars in the hole for money they're not going to be able to recoup. On top of that it's going to delay their actual immigration paperwork to the state as well."

This comes at a time, when there is a lot of uncertainty around immigration, according to SIREN, an immigrant rights group.

They say, cases like this play on that fear.

Priya Murthy of Siren says, "All they want to do is make sure they can go to a safe and trusted place in order to find out what their legal options are. And unfortunately this exacerbates that fear that community has right now."

This man, a student, spent $2,000 trying to get his DACA paperwork filed with Castillo. Now he's not sure if he'll have the money or the chance to file again. He says he feels betrayed.

He says, "To be honest they should be in jail because they should be in jail because that's where they belong if they're doing this to people. If they're lying and if they're pulling scams like this to innocent people."

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's office hopes other victims will come forward.

Anyone with information on this case should contact their Notario Investigations Unit at 408-808-4599 or Tips@shf.sccgov.org