Immigration scam lands Tennessee woman in prison

A Tennessee woman will spend the next five years in prison because of her role in a immigrant scam, reports the Jackson Sun.

Debra Lynn Gouge, 53, of Johnson City, Tennessee, was found guilty of defrauding immigrants by posing as an immigration specialist. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Gouge set up a fraudulent immigration company to trick Hispanic workers into paying $3,000 for what they thought would was assistance in obtaining legal citizenship.

The sentence was handed down at the US Federal Court in Greeneville by Judge Ronnie Greer. Gouge’s defense attorney attempted to get his client a lesser sentence due to his client’s medical conditions, but Greer took no sympathy.

In addition to the five-year prison sentence, Gouge will also have to pay more than $150,000 in restitution to the court, reports News Channel 11, the Johnson City CBS News affiliate.

During the investigation, the court also found that Gouge defrauded the Social Security Administration by collecting disability benefits that she was not eligible for.

Jawad Lashin, 32, was also sentenced in the crime. He will spend 32 months in prison then be deported back to Israel after admitting to serving as Gouge’s bodyguard during her scams.