DES MOINES, Iowa – Police are urging victims to come forward after a Des Moines woman was arrested for allegedly scamming friends, family, and strangers out of thousands of dollars to obtain immigration papers.
The Des Moines Police Department says the arrest of 46-year-old Nancy Veronica Sandoval is the result of a months-long, multi-state fraud investigation. Police say Sandoval and Ana Hernandez of Texas, who claimed to be an immigration attorney, received $57,875 from people who were duped into thinking they could get legal immigration documentation.
Criminal complaints in the case claim Sandoval “persistently recruited her friends and family members to believe that her co-defendant could get them their legal documentation for citizenship quickly by paying them large amounts of money, knowing that this was untrue.”
The scam ran between late April/early May through August 2021. At that time police say they couldn’t keep up the lies and Sandoval advised the victims to file police reports to be part of the “U Visa” program, which helps victims of some crimes get legal immigration status.
Sandoval is charged with first-degree theft, conspiracy, and ongoing criminal conduct.
Arrest warrants for Hernandez have been issued but she is not yet in custody.
Police are aware of 12-14 victims but believe there may be more who are too afraid or embarrassed to come forward. They are urging anyone who thinks they’ve been a victim in this scam to contact Detective Chapline at 515-283-4966 or for Spanish speakers Zuleyma Mendez at 515-281-4089.