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She guaranteed immigrants green cards and even citizenship. Instead, she stole their money, feds say

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Helen Kennedy offered her clients a guarantee, according to court documents. For a fee, she would get them political asylum, visas, green cards and even citizenship.

But the California woman did not work for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Her promises, prosecutors said, were as worthless as the fictitious law license she claimed to have.

When customers complained, Kennedy would cease contact with them.

“Furthermore, Kennedy never refunded the fees paid,” prosecutors said in court documents.

Kennedy, also known as Helen Abdi, was indicted last month in connection with an alleged $101,800 fraud involving victims from across the country. At least one of her four known victims lived in Hampton Roads, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Kosky and Assistant Federal Public Defender Andrew Grindrod, Kennedy’s attorney, declined to comment on the indictment.

According to court documents, Kennedy is charged with five counts of wire fraud. The scheme stretched from June 2016 through January 2018, and involved her business, Professional U.S. Immigration Services.

Kennedy — who is currently out on bond — targeted Iranians in online advertisements. While calling herself an immigration consultant, she was not bonded in California. The company also lacked a business licensed and its advertised address was fake, the indictment said.

In at least some cases, Kennedy held herself out as an immigration attorney even though she was not licensed to practice law in any state, the indictment said.

Over time, Kennedy repeatedly entered into contracts with foreign nationals for the purpose of providing immigration services, the indictment said. In the contracts, she and her company guaranteed her clients would receive various immigration benefits.

After getting paid, Kennedy would pocket the money. She “never submitted any immigration paperwork on behalf of her clients,” the indictment said, and repeatedly lied to her clients about it. She would also tell them such immigration applications “took a long time to process” and that they needed to be patient.

The indictment said Kennedy also lied about having various businesses ready to sponsor them so they could obtain work visas, “when in truth and fact she had not secured any such work for her clients.”

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