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Gwinnett pastor charged in alleged fake immigration lawyer scam

A third person has been charged in an alleged immigration scam involving fake lawyers, Gwinnett County police said. 

Gregorio Perez Gonzalez, 53, has been charged with two counts each of first-degree forgery, false statements and unauthorized practice of law.


MORE | Cops: Fake Gwinnett lawyer, daughter demanded $10K from witness

PREVIOUSLY | Cops: Gwinnett church leader posed as lawyer, accountant and stole from customers

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Melva Washington, 60, was the first person arrested in this case. She was initially charged with two counts of first-degree forgery, four counts of false statements and three counts of unauthorized practice of law. She and her daughter, 26-year-old Elizabeth Cannon-Washington, were later charged with influencing witnesses and terroristic threats.

Washington, known as a pastor in Norcross, advertised herself as an immigration attorney and claimed to be able to get DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status for people who didn’t meet the program’s requirements, police said. She also submitted immigration documents to the government on behalf of clients that included false information, according to police. Washington does not have a law degree and is not a member of the Georgia Bar Association.

Gonzalez, also known as a pastor, allegedly worked with Washington as an unlicensed immigration lawyer under a business named “Gonzalez-Washington Immigration Services,” according to police.

While both Washington and Gonzalez were known by others to be pastors, Gwinnett County police do not believe that they were real pastors or that their church was legitimate, a spokesman said.

Gonzalez has not been arrested and his location is not known. 

Anyone with information about Gonzalez’s whereabouts or about this case is asked to contact Gwinnett County detectives at 770-513-5300 or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477. Crime Stoppers tips may be rewarded with up to $2,000 if they lead to an arrest or indictment.


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