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Authorities say woman posed as agent, preyed on immigrants

May 31, 2012 | 10:44 pm

Araceli Martinez was arrested on suspicion of posing as a federal agent.

A woman was arrested Thursday on suspicion of posing as a federal agent and taking tens of thousands of dollars from illegal immigrants to supposedly win them legal resident status.

Fourteen victims told investigators they paid between $4,000 and $8,000 each to Araceli Martinez, 47, who posed as an immigration and customs enforcement agent, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies went to Martinez's home Thursday morning but found she had left within the hour to catch a flight to Mexico from Los Angeles International Airport, the department said.

Department authorities alerted LAX police, who detained Martinez and turned her over to deputies. She was being held at the Central Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood on $335,000 bail.

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-- Robert J. Lopez
twitter.com/LAJourno

Photo: Araceli Martinez was arrested on suspicion of posing as a federal agent. Credit: KTLA-TV

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