EDEN PRAIRIE, MN (WNCN) – A woman faces a felony charge after authorities said she convinced four undocumented immigrants to fake robberies as a means to obtain a Visa, a criminal complaint shows.
Yuridia Linares, of Eden Prairie, faces a felony charge of theft by swindle following an investigation dating back to August.
The criminal complaint says Linares told the four undocumented immigrants to report being robbed so they could obtain U Visas.
“The U visas are given to undocumented people who cooperate with police or prosecutors as a victim or witness to a crime. It provides them with temporary protection from deportation,” the Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a release.
On August 20, undocumented immigrants identified as GRC and ASD said they were stabbed during a robbery on a trail in Eden Prairie. Both GRC and ASD said their identification was stolen in the robbery.
On August 30, two of the undocumented immigrants, only identified as BACB and RNOR in the complaint, said they were robbed by two men as they walked to a McDonald’s from a friend’s apartment.
One woman reported being cut on the hand by a robber and the other cut on the arm. The complaint says police saw and documented these injuries.
Amid the investigation into the August 30 robbery, police learned BACB and RNOR said they were trying to visit their friend “Judy.”
“Judy” was later identified as Linares.
She had reported being robbed at knifepoint by two men in October 2015. She said her identification was stolen in that robbery, the complaint says.
On March 17, 2016, Linares applied for and received a U Visa in relation to the robbery.
Investigators noticed the similarities between the three reported robberies.
All involved undocumented Latinos being robbed by two men at knifepoint.
A search warrant was executed on the phones of the robbery victims.
The victims called each other multiple times starting August 7.
Investigators then interviewed all the victims who admitted to fabricating the robberies with the help of Linares, the complaint says.
They told investigators that Linares told them they could get “papers” by faking an assualt.
Linares said she had connections within the Eden Prarie Police Department who could help. She also said $2,000 could help them obtain U Visas, the complaint says.
All four robbery victims said Linares cut them at her apartment. Two said she used a box cutter, the complaint says.
The four victims gave Linares a total of $5,000.
Linares faces a maximum sentence of 10 years behind bars and a $20,000 fine.
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