Quiboloy camp: LA paralegal who admitted to immigration fraud not a church member │ GMA News Online

The camp of controversial church leader Pastor Apollo Quiboloy on Saturday denied any connection with a Los Angeles paralegal who admitted guilt to committing immigration fraud in favor of granting legal permanent residency and citizenship for supposed members of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

“First, we cannot comment on Ms. Maria De Leon, one of the supposed co-accused of Pastor Quiboloy, except to say that she is not a member of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KJOC) which Pastor Quiboloy heads, and neither is she connected nor affiliated in any way with the KJOC, nor with Pastor Quiboloy officially or personally,” Quiboloy’s legal counsel Atty. Ferdinand Topacio told GMA News Online.

De Leon, a 73-year-old resident of Los Angeles and owner of Liberty Legal Document Services, “agreed to plead guilty to participating in a scheme with administrators of the church, which is known as the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name (KOJC),” the US Justice Department said, citing a plea agreement filed at the United States District Court. 

KOJC is headed by Quiboloy.

De Leon admitted to participating, for about eight years, in the alleged conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and visa fraud with supposed leaders of the KOJC, according to the US DOJ.

Topacio, however, said De Leon is an “independent contractor whose company renders paralegal services to the public at large.”

“Secondly, under the legal doctrine of res inter alios acta — which is likewise applicable in the courts of the United States — any confession only binds the confessor. Being the act of a third party, it cannot affect Pastor Quiboloy or any other co-accused, nor should it negatively affect the cases against them,” he said.

“Third, we cannot discount the possibility of pressure being brought to bear on the 73-year old Ms. De Leon as part of the pattern of harassment being employed against Pastor Quiboloy and the KJOC in the United States for purely political motives,” he added.

De Leon is one of nine defendants who were charged in November 2021 in a 42-count superseding that alleges a labor trafficking scheme that used fraudulently obtained visas to bring KOJC members to the US, where they were allegedly forced to solicit donations for a bogus charity, the Glendale-based Children’s Joy Foundation (CJF).

The indictment alleges that the donations were used to finance church operations and its leaders’ lavish lifestyles.

Quiboloy is included in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s wanted list “for his alleged participation in a labor trafficking scheme that brought church members to the United States, via fraudulently obtained visas, and forced the members to solicit donations for a bogus charity, donations that actually were used to finance church operations and the lavish lifestyles of its leaders.” —KG, GMA News