LOS ANGELES (CN) – A Cuban man is accused of posing as an attorney and “representing” his countrymen in the very court that had ordered him deported. Raul Ernesto Alonso-Prieto, 60, faces a 22-count federal indictment.
Alonso-Prieto was ordered deported and sent to the immigration prison known as the San Pedro Processing Center, according to the indictment. Because the United States will not deport people to Cuba, he was released under supervision.
During his release, between March and June of 2007, Alonso-Prieto allegedly assumed the name “Kenneth Robert-Murphy Peterson,” a variation of the name of a real California attorney. He allegedly used this name, and the Bar number of the real attorney, and the name “Charles Powell,” a deceased Florida attorney, to invent a fake Christian charity called the Amicus Curiae Foundation, to offer “discounted legal services” to immigrants.
Alonso-Prieto allegedly approached detainees of the SPPC and their family members and offered to represent them for fees as high as $2,500.
He claimed to have two offices but in fact operated the fictional charity from a room he rented in a house in South Gate, according to the indictment.
Alonso-Prieto appeared in person and by telephone many times before immigration judges at the SPPC, claiming to be attorney Kenneth Robert-Murphy Peterson, and purporting to represent detained clients in deportation and removal proceedings, the indictment alleges.
He kept a bank account under his fake name in which he deposited victims’ checks, cash, money orders and wire transfers, according to the indictment.
The California Department of Corrections delivered Alonso-Prieto to federal custody on April 2. He had been serving a sentence for April 2008 convictions for sending a threatening letter with intent to extort and unauthorized practice of law.
He faces up to 194 years in prison.