A man who falsely claimed to be a law enforcement officer and defrauded the families of immigrant detainees by claiming he could help get people released from custody was sentenced Friday to 10 years in jail, followed by five years of mandatory supervision.

Gregory Chavez pleaded guilty last month to 12 counts of grand theft, two counts of perjury and single counts of extortion, conspiracy and counterfeit seal, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

In addition to his jail time and mandatory supervision, Chavez was also ordered to pay nearly $550,000 in restitution.

According to prosecutors, Chavez began bilking the families of immigrant detainees as far back as September 2010, claiming he was a “special agent” and even flashing a badge, saying he could help detainees with their cases and win their release.

Despite collecting tens of thousands of dollars from families, he never provided any services, and no detainees were ever released as a result of his efforts, prosecutors said.

Chavez, an unlicensed private investigator, would tell victims that he worked with a team of law enforcement officers, according to prosecutors.

–City News Service

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