Chao Xiong, The Star Tribune, November 19, 2019
An Eden Prairie woman is accused of masterminding fake assaults in a scam aimed at obtaining visas issued to crime victims who cooperate with police.
Using a box cutter or sharp object, the woman cut four participants who then filed police reports claiming they had been injured during attempted robberies, according to court documents.
Yuridia Hernandez Linares, 36, told the participants they could obtain a U visa afterward, the documents said. 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.
She had obtained a U visa in 2016 after falsely reporting that she was a crime victim, according to court documents.
Hernandez Linares was charged last week in Hennepin County District Court with one count of felony theft by swindle, which accuses her of taking money from victims.
Four victims from 2019 told police they paid Hernandez Linares a total of $5,000 and admitted that they worked with her to file false police reports.
Hernandez Linares sent a letter to the police department in March 2016 requesting a U visa, which was signed by the police chief, according to the complaint.
Police obtained phone records showing that the participants in the Aug. 20 incident communicated with her several times in the days leading up to and after the attack.
Hernandez Linares was arrested last week and is in custody at the Hennepin County jail.