Couple posed as attorneys, took money from incarcerated immigrants, DOJ says

Jessica Rivas Alva, 37, Eric Jon Alva, 39, face up to 5 years in federal prison

SAN ANTONIO – A couple is facing up to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identity theft.

The Department of Justice said Jessica Rivas Alva, 37, and her husband, Eric Jon Alva, 39, conspired to collect fees from incarcerated undocumented immigrants and their family members by falsely claiming to work on behalf of two San Antonio attorneys between March 2015 and May 2015.

The DOJ said the couple forged letters using the name and state bar number of two attorneys, enabling them to gain access to two immigration detention facilities in Louisiana.

After gaining access to the South Louisiana Correctional Center and the LaSalle Detention Facility, Jessica Alva met with the immigrants and offered legal services for a fee, according to the DOJ. The immigrants' families were then instructed to deposit the money into accounts that the Alvas controlled.

Officials said the conspiracy charge to which the Alvas pleaded guilty also alleged Eric Alva impersonated one of the attorneys and claimed to represent the detained immigrant whose case was before the court.

The couple's sentencing is scheduled for June 7.

About the Author: