LOS ANGELES (KABC) --It took two years of undercover work, but on Thursday, Los Angeles County and city authorities announced criminal charges against an unlicensed immigration consultant.
"Five criminal counts against Gloria Dora Saucedo and her business, Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional Inc.," said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.
Feuer says Saucedo, 65, consulted immigrants but failed. She has been charged with practicing law without a license and failing to help clients who paid her thousands of dollars to secure residency status for them.
"They have hopes and dreams for themselves and for their families, but those hopes and dreams often result in scam artists coming out of the woodwork to try to take advantage of people," Feuer said.
Maria Delgado says she lost over $1,000 to Saucedo, as well as access to her late husband's social security benefits.
"I realized that something was wrong with my case. I went to Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, and they told me that my case was closed. In reality, my case had been denied. It was denied because Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional did not inform me about my interview with immigration," Delgado said in Spanish.
We caught up with Saucedo at her office in Panorama City. She said she was not trying to hurt anyone.
Saucedo apologized to the victim and said there was a lack of communication in her case. Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional is still open, but Feuer says he will ask a judge to shut the place down during the arraignment on April 15.
Saucedo helped 10-year-old Jersey Vargas travel to see Pope Francis in 2014 and 5-year-old Sophie Cruz embrace him on his trip to Washington last year.
Authorities say one of Saucedo's clients, who paid her $2,500, was ordered to leave the country after Saucedo didn't file immigration papers for her.
If Saucedo is convicted of the crimes, she could face up to 5 years in jail and $35,000 in fines.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.