An LA-based paralegal admitted to the US Justice Department (DOJ) last week that she had prepared fraudulent documents that helped members of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ church attain permanent residency and eventual citizenship in the US.

FilAm Maria de Leon, 73, agreed to plead guilty to “participating in a scheme with administrators of the church,” the US DOJ said in its website.

The church is headed by its founder Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, a close associate of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Quiboloy is also listed as one of the FBI’s 10 most wanted, after he had been implicated of other crimes such as child trafficking, as well as money laundering and attempted gun smuggling.

A frequent visitor to the US, where his church has branches in California and Hawaii, Quiboloy is now considered a fugitive from justice and is believed to be hiding out in the Philippines.

De Leon’s services to the church included completing the immigration paperwork for certain church members whom she “knew was based upon false representations of the bona fides of the underlying marriages” made by its officials, said the Justice Department.

De Leon also admitted that she had filed fake “Petitions for Alien Relative” and other documents for members knowing that the marriages were arranged in order to secure favorable immigration status for a spouse.

Quiboloy’s camp, however, denied that De Leon was a member of the Davao-based church. Quiboloy’s lawyer, Fernando Topacio, said De Leon did not have any connection to the church whether “officially or personally.”

Whatever confession she gives to the US Justice Department has no effect on Quiboloy as “any confession only binds the confessor,” he argued.

De Leon has agreed to cooperate with the DOJ as part of a plea bargain agreement filed over the weekend. As part of that deal, she may have to serve a minimum of five years in federal prison.

A resident of Koreatown in downtown Los Angeles, De Leon is the owner of Liberty Legal Document Services. She said she had been preparing documents for Quiboloy’s US operations for the past eight years.

Those documents allowed young women to enter the US, where they were forced to solicit donations and new members for the church. In some cases, they were also forced to have sex with Quiboloy.

As a reward, the newcomers entered into fake marriage arrangements with members of the church, thereby validating their stay in the US and leaving the door open for permanent residency and eventual citizenship.

Along with Quiboloy and eight others, De Leon faces a 42-count indictment alleging their running a labor trafficking scheme, marriage and visa fraud, and solicitation for a bogus children’s charity, all to fund the church leader’s lavish lifestyle.

Quiboloy, who turns 72 later this month, is considered one of the most wanted sex traffickers in the US by the FBI, as well as for bulk cash smuggling.

Little more than the head of a regional religious cult a decade ago, Quiboloy adopted the policy of a larger Philippine-based church whereby its members practice block voting.

Whoever Quiboloy endorses for any national position automatically gains the five million votes of its adult members.

His notoriety went into overdrive after Rodrigo Duterte became president. He was able to establish his own broadcast network and purchase a second private jet, one of which he lent to Duterte as often as needed. He still holds the unofficial title of spiritual adviser to the President.

Quiboloy is one of a few church leaders who recently endorsed the presidential candidacy of Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

A spokesperson for the US embassy in Manila told local media that the cases against Quiboloy were “not related to the Philippines’ presidential election campaign.