An Eden Prairie woman pleaded guilty to charging immigrants money to fake armed robberies against them in a ploy to obtain temporary visas granted for crime victims.
Yuridia Hernandez Linares, 36, pleaded guilty Monday in Hennepin County District Court to one count of theft by swindle for the 2019 incidents.
According to the criminal complaint: Four victims from 2019 told police they paid Hernandez Linares a total of $5,000 to stage the robberies and worked with her to file false police reports.
A man and a woman told police that on Aug. 20 they were on a trail near Bay Point Lake Apartments when two men approached them and brandished a knife. The woman reported being grabbed by the neck and robbed of her purse. The man reported that his wallet was stolen. Both reported being cut with a knife.
Later that month, two women told police they were going to visit Hernandez Linares when two men stole their purses and cut them with a knife.
Police investigating the claims discovered that Hernandez Linares and her friend had reported being victims of an identical attack in 2015, which resulted in Hernandez Linares being granted a U visa.
Such visas are "set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement," according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
Authorities found that Hernandez Linares cut her victims with a box cutter.
She is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 30. Hernandez Linares is in custody.