six people in which he claimed to be a federal immigration official,
demanding they pay a total of $50,000 to "clear up the immigration
status of each individual," according to the a Department of Justice press release. Solorza threatened those who wouldn't pay with imprisonment and deportation.
Unfortunately for him, the victims instead contacted the real ICE, which
opened an investigation.
Solorza and his crew eventually set a time and place to meet their intended victims. It was easy to spot Solorza -- he was the one in clown attire pedaling a child's bike. This, apparently, is what the con man thought immigrants would expect of an ICE agent on the take. But Bozo ended up looking like a clown; he was arrested. What a sight for the kids that must have been.
In what is perhaps the most rollicking press release ever hailing from
the U.S. Department of Justice, the revelation that Solorza was dressed as a clown
is followed by this quote from U.S. Attorney Joe Russoniello: "This case
shows that the United States will investigate and vigorously prosecute
those who impersonate federal officers. Individuals who cloak themselves
with apparent federal authority in order to victimize vulnerable people
will be brought to justice." Or cloak themselves in big shoes and a
But the release then tells us to stop clowning around: "While part of
this defendant's deception involved dressing as a clown, his actions are
no laughing matter," said Mark Wollman, special agent in charge of
ICE's office of Homeland Security Investigations. "One of our
enforcement priorities is to target immigration fraud and the swindlers
who prey on innocent individuals in our communities."
Well, we knew ICE wasn't exactly viewed with great respect by