San Antonio woman sentenced after receiving $275,000 to smuggle migrants while acting as attorney, feds say

Kimberly Cruz, 35, was sentenced for one count of wire fraud

Jail Bars Gavel Prison Courts Crime Justice (KPRC2/Click2Houston.com)

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio woman was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison after pretending to be a legal advocate and receiving more than $275,000 from migrants in a human smuggling operation.

Kimberly Cruz, 35, was sentenced for one count of wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced in a news release on Monday.

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Authorities said that from April to October 2019, Cruz convinced multiple migrants and their families that she was an attorney and collected personal documents, like birth certificates and passports.

Cruz misrepresented herself to officers at the Eagle Pass Point of Entry and said the migrants required humanitarian paroles and were permitted to enter the U.S. for 24 to 48 hours for appointments.

Cruz would then transport the migrants to San Antonio, where she would drop them off with relatives or at a bus station or the airport, the release states.

The migrants and their families deposited $275,911 into her bank accounts.

She was arrested in October 2019 and pleaded guilty to wire fraud in October 2021. She was also ordered to pay $9,900 and forfeit $271,000.

“This defendant falsely represented herself in order to take advantage of our country’s immigration procedures while putting at risk the lives of more than 95 migrants,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas.

HSI investigated the case.


About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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