Minnesota woman accused in scam to obtain crime victim visas
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota woman swindled money from four people in a scam aimed at getting visas for crime victims who help police that involved cutting them, according to criminal charges filed against her.
Yuridia Hernandez Linares, 36, of Eden Prairie, used a box cutter or sharp object to cut the four, who then filed false police reports claiming they were injured during armed robberies, according to prosecutors.
The four told police they paid Hernandez Linares a total of $5,000 and worked with her to file the false reports in order to get a so-called U visa, which are given to victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and have been helpful to law enforcement, the Star Tribune reported.
Hernandez Linares is charged in Hennepin County District Court with one count of felony theft by swindle. She was jailed in Hennepin County. Her public defender did not immediately return a call for comment.
The victims told police “they were afraid of Defendant and immigration,” the criminal complaint said. “Defendant had told them that if they told anyone, they would all go to jail.” The complaint said the four were Latinos who didn’t have documents required for legal U.S. residence.
Eden Prairie officers investigating the cases said they found circumstances of the alleged robberies were similar to an October 2015 case in which Hernandez Linares and her friend reported being robbed and cut by two men armed with knives.
Hernandez Linares sent a letter to the police department in March 2016 requesting a U visa, which was signed by the police chief, according to the complaint.
“All the wounds were clean superficial cuts of approximately same length and each victim sustained only one injury. None of the wounds were puncture wounds,” according to the complaint filed last week.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com