Police: Fake immigration lawyer scammed clients out of over $30K
DULUTH, Ga. - Gwinnett County police are searching for a man they describe as a phony immigration attorney.
Investigators said so far he has swindled at least three Latino victims of thousands of dollars.
They said he met them at the bakery inside the Assi Plaza in Duluth, a farmer’s style market on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth.
“He got some money from people who needed legal advice,” said manager Bryan In.
He said security and all others working at Assi Plaza are watching out for the phony litigator.
VIDEO: Police release video of reported fake immigration lawyer
Police said since December of last year he met several victims at the Bakery in this multi-cultural complex.
One they said paid $6,000 to bring family members to the United States legally.
Another $20,000 and a third, $6,000 for the same services, with the same veiled threat of deportation if they didn't use the man's legal services.
“It’s very possible he’s manipulating these victims into thinking that local police will deport them. But we will never deport any victim for coming forward reporting a crime to us,” said Corporal Michelle Pihera of the Gwinnett County Police Department.
She said the man goes by the name Juan Manuel Pineda Cruz as seen on his business card and other aliases.
“He’s been able to manipulate about thirty thousand dollars that we know of so far against these victim's and I'm guessing the numbers will go up substantially once these victim's come forward,” said Corp. Pihera.
One of the victim's lived at a home near the bakery. A man at the house, who didn't want to go on camera, told FOX 5 News his brother who has since moved, didn't get anything for the thousands he shelled out.
Police said neither did any of the other victims.
“It is inhumane to do something like that and I feel very sorry for the victims,” said Manager Bryan In.
Police have released a video secretly recorded by one of the victims in hopes someone recognizes the man and gives them a call.
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