Today Miguel Sanchez, 52, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the maximum sentence, after being found guilty as charged with Scheme to Defraud $20,000 or More. Sanchez was found guilty following a two day trial in Lee County that ended Thursday.
In May 2017, the defendant had a minor car accident when a barrel fell out of man’s truck and hit his car while they were driving on I-75 in Lee County. The two stopped to check damage following the incident and Sanchez stayed in touch with the man. The man became the first of nine victims of Sanchez.
The defendant started speaking on the phone to the man and created a story about a U.S. Immigration program that does not exist. He then pretended he himself had successfully gone through the program to be able to live in the United States legally. He convinced the man to bring in his friends and family who also could possibly benefit from the fake program. He further elaborated that he had connections at U.S. Immigration through going through the program and could successfully help them too.
In an effort to further gain the trust of the victims Sanchez even invited them to his home and introduced them to his family. Sanchez was diligent even holding a subsequent meeting with the victims to let them know the process was going well but there were more fees that needed to be paid to U.S. Immigration.
The nine victims who gave money to Sanchez lost from $500 to $19,000. All of the victims thought they were doing things properly by going through a government agency only being guided by Sanchez. He continued to portray that is exactly what was happening,
The victims as a group tried to contact the defendant when they realized nothing was taking place. He stopped returning calls. One of the victim’s drove to Sanchez’s home in an effort to reach him, but his house was vacant and for sale. They then reported him to law enforcement.
Assistant State Attorney Martin Holland of our Economic Crimes Unit handled the case. Aside from Sanchez being sentenced to 15 years in prison he also must pay full restitution of $43,670 to the victims.
State Attorney’s Office