Eden Prairie woman pleads guilty to Visa robbery scam

She staged robberies in an attempt to get victim of crime Visas.
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An Eden Prairie woman has pleaded guilty to running a scam in which she staged robberies for money, in order to get undocumented people Visas to stay in the U.S.

Yuridia Hernandez Linares, 36, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of theft-by-swindle after police investigated several falsified reports of armed robberies.

Police learned that Linares would take payment of $2,000 to stage the robberies, with the intention that the "victims" would then qualify for a U Visa, which is a nonimmigrant visa given to those who have been victims of crime and who cooperate with police.

She staged the robberies on Anderson Lakes Parkway on Oct. 25, 2015, and Aug. 20 and 30, 2019.

Police became suspicious of the robberies reported in August, in which the victims were supposedly held up at knifepoint before having their wallets and purses stolen. Officers recognized it as being similar to the incident reported in 2015.

Investigators learned that Linares would cut the "victims" using a box cutter to make it look as though they've been robbed.

Further investigation of the victims' phones determined the victims had been in contact with Linares several times before the robberies, and later admitted they were working with Linares and had made false police reports.

Linares will be sentenced on Jan. 30.

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