Wednesday, December 6, 2017
The Oklahoma Supreme Court accepted the resignation of an attorney facing bar charges of three counts of conversion.
The former director of immigration and legal services of Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City has been accused of stealing money meant for clients' immigration fees.
Margarita I. Solis, 46, of Norman, was charged Wednesday with three felony counts of embezzlement.
Oklahoma County prosecutors allege Solis, while employed as an attorney by Catholic Charities, was in charge of assisting clients in obtaining permanent residency status and citizenship in the United States.
After receiving money orders from clients to pay immigration fees, Solis would make the orders payable to her and cash them, according to prosecutors.
She stole a total of $2,830 from clients in 2015 and 2016, prosecutors alleged.
In an interview about the allegations against Solis, Patrick Raglow, executive director of Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City, said he could not discuss Solis by name because of human resources obligations and rules. He said the employee was the subject of an internal investigation and no longer works at Catholic Charities, an affiliate of the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
“Like any other organization, we sometimes have persons in positions of trust and confidence who violate policies and who violate the trust and confidence of the agency. It happens, but our policies and procedures caught it relatively early. We flagged it,” Raglow said.
Raglow said clients pay federal immigration fees to Catholic Charities and that money is transferred to the federal government. In this instance, he said, those monetary payments were diverted.
Raglow said the agency's clients who were affected by the policy violations received prompt attention and were provided services. He also said the financial impact to the agency was minimal due to insurance.
“We reported it to the police, not out of any malice towards the individual, but out of respect for the donor dollars that we are privileged to receive,” Raglow said.
Solis could not be reached by phone Thursday. She hasn't been arrested, jailers said Thursday evening.