A fired Immigration and Naturalization Services agent who has been operating an immigration consulting business in San Jose was arrested on fraud charges Tuesday and authorities are looking for more victims.
Gerardo Duenes of San Jose was arrested by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Notario Fraud Unit for allegedly providing fraudulent immigration services to members of the Hispanic community out of an office on Alum Rock Avenue in San Jose, according to the sheriff’s office.
Duenes did not have proper state clearance or the required bond to provide such services, sheriff’s officials said.
The scam was revealed when victims who suffered significant financial losses and potentially missed immigration opportunities because of Duenes’ practices came forward to police.
He was arrested after a lengthy investigation involving multiple search warrants at his home and office. He is charged with two counts of grand theft and one count of providing immigration services while unregistered or bonded, police said.
Duenes had worked for INS for about seven years in the 1980s and was terminated for fraud at that time.
Police say he used his previous credentials — without mentioning his termination — to attract clients and charge exorbitant fees.
Investigators hope anyone who believes they were a victim of fraud through Duenes’ office will call (408) 808-4599 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.