MIAMI — A South Florida city commissioner has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge after she lied and posed as a paralegal so that she could visit her lover at an immigration detention center last year.
Julianna Strout, 36, was convicted of attempting to enter and entering a federal facility using fraud and false pretenses. Strout, 36, has served as a North Bay Village commissioner since being elected in 2018. Her term was set to expire next month.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida, Strout entered the Krome North Service Processing Center on three separate occasions in October 2021 by lying to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials about her reason for visiting.
Federal prosecutors said Strout claimed she worked as a paralegal for a law firm and that she needed to visit a detainee to have him sign some documents. Prosecutors said she even gave ICE officials a letter with the law firm's letterhead on it.
However, it was later revealed that Strout had never worked for the law firm or allowed her to use its letterhead.
Strout lied because she was romantically involved with the detainee. Visitation had been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, but legal visits were allowed.
On one occasion, after initially being denied entry, Strout presented her North Bay Village identification and asked to enter the facility on account of her being a public official.
Immediately after pleading guilty, Strout was sentenced to a year of probation and 50 hours of community service.
The former beauty queen once represented Rhode Island in the Miss America pageant.