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Coldblooded Scam Targeted Mexicans

SAN ANTONIO (CN) - A 56-year-old Texan was sentenced to 65 months in federal prison for posing as an immigration agent to steal $95,000 from 80 unsuspecting victims by selling them phony documents. Several of his victims were ill and sought temporary visas to get medical treatment. One traveled from the interior of Mexico to Nuevo Laredo only to be denied admission and die on her way home, prosecutors said.

Eladio Carpintero, of McAllen, pleaded guilty in November 2009 to one count of mail fraud. He admitted that from August 2006 until December 2007, he posed as a federal agent and solicited money from San Antonio residents and their families.

Prosecutors said Carpintero sold supposedly legal immigration documents.

"On several occasions, Carpintero-Castillo brandished a fake Immigration Officer's badge to induce the victims," the Department of Justice said in a statement. "Carpintero-Castillo represented to the victims that he worked for the 'Immigration Customs Center,' and the victims gave him money orders made out to 'I.C.C.' for the immigration documents."

Carpintero then changed I.C.C. to "E.C. Carpintero," and deposited the money orders in his bank accounts.

Carpintero also was ordered to pay $95,660.00 in restitution and will serve 3 years of supervised release when he gets out of prison.

Carpintero has two prior felony convictions for similar conduct.

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