La. man pleads guilty to defrauding illegal immigrants
LAFAYETTE - A Louisiana man has pleaded guilty to a charge that he preyed on dozens of illegal immigrants in federal detention facilities by promising them legal assistance but taking their money without providing any help.
Edwin Zavala Jr., of Lafayette, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to a wire fraud charge that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing date wasn't immediately set.
Zavala isn't an attorney, but a court filing says he received more than $42,000 from 44 people who paid him for legal assistance in deportation proceedings. The filing says Zavala typically ceased all contact with them once he was paid.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office sued Zavala and his company, United Immigration Consulting LLC, last month over related allegations.