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Utah lawyer guilty of alien smuggling, visa fraud

Utah lawyer to prison for alien smuggling, visa fraud; fled to Mexico

Utah lawyer guilty of alien smuggling, visa fraud

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Salt Lake City attorney has been sentenced to more than four years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring with a former Border Patrol agent and others to smuggle foreign workers into the United States.

James Hector Alcala fled to Mexico when he was indicted in 2009 along with his law firm and seven others. Federal agents arrested him trying to re-enter the country at a California border crossing on Christmas Day 2012.

The 46-year-old lawyer pleaded guilty in federal court in Salt Lake City Thursday to conspiracy to commit visa fraud and alien smuggling. Prosecutors say he helped fraudulently obtain work visas for thousands of foreign national workers who already were living and working in the United States.

Judge Dee Benson sentenced Alcala to 56 months in prison.