Man guilty of pretending to be immigration attorney

FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2019, file photo, a detainee talks on the phone in his pod at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga. While much of daily life has ground to a halt to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, the Trump administration is resisting calls from immigration judges and attorneys to stop in-person hearings and shutter all immigration courts. They say the most pressing hearings can still be done by phone so immigrants aren't stuck in detention indefinitely. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) (2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

TAMPA, Fla. – A Florida man has been convicted of pretending to be an attorney and filing hundreds of fake immigration applications.

Elvis Harold Reyes, 56, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Tampa federal court to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to court records. He faces up to 20 years in prison for the mail fraud and a mandatory consecutive 2 years for the identity theft. A sentencing date hasn't been set.

According to court documents, Reyes owned and operated EHR Ministries Inc. He portrayed himself as an immigration attorney, though he has never had a law license. Reyes targeted undocumented immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries who were seeking Florida driver licenses and work authorizations.

Reyes gave false, inaccurate and incomplete legal and immigration advice to victims in order to induce them to retain his services and those of EHR Ministries, prosecutors said. Reyes filed more than 215 fraudulent applications, with intended losses to victims exceeding $1 million.