Victims say they were scammed by fake immigration lawyer

Victims are trying to warn others about a man who gained their trust and then stole thousands of dollars. They say the man called himself a pastor and immigration lawyer and offered to help them with their immigration paperwork.

Now many of the victims believe they are in a worse legal and financial situation than before they were offered help.

The Hillsborough Sheriff's Office says it is investigating a scam involving as many as 150 victims.

Possible victims told FOX 13 News they were manipulated by Elvis Harold Reyes, who scammed them out of between $2,500 and $5,000 each.

One of the victims told FOX 13 News she was eager to straighten out her immigration status so she could legally live and work in the U.S.

"We wanted to come out of the shadows by following the rules," she said.

Investigators say scammers often target immigrants, praying on their hopes and fears.

Reyes’ alleged victims are unsure how the fraud will affect them, long term.

The sheriff's office is still completing its investigation. So far, no charges have been filed.

But the sheriff says preying on his county’s residents is unacceptable and his agency makes a point to protect all people, regardless of their immigration status.

Anyone who thinks they are a victim of this scheme is urged to contact the sheriff's office.