CHICAGO (CBS) — Those in the Little Village neighborhood describe it as a form of terror: the looming threat of deportation. That may in part explain how a woman got away with impersonating an officer.

As CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports, 53-year-old Gloria Juarez, a convicted prostitute, is accused of posing as an immigration officer and offering to arrange U.S. citizenship for a number of individuals.

It’s alleged Juarez targeted immigrants and scammed her victims out of more than $15,000 each. She allegedly met clients at the Cyndi Lynn Motel in Cicero.

Police also say she wore a badge, carried a gun and threatened the victims with violence.

“It is deeply troubling to find persons such as this who prey on vulnerable immigrants and their families who strive to live and work lawfully in this country,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

It’s alleged the scheme lasted five years.

“I think entire communities are terrified,” said Rozalinda Borcila, of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission.

Borcila says she’s not surprised it went on for years and no one reported it.

“Not trusting the authorities is the smart move,” said Borcila. “So it becomes a very first good place to go to educate oneself and to reach out for some support.”

Borcila says her mission in Little Village is one example of a place people can “trust.”

Juarez’s bond was set at $50,000.

Watch & Listen LIVE