There are reports of a jump in fraud against immigrants seeking immigration legal services. State AGs have been using their civil and criminal tools to combat this type of exploitation.
Following a months-long undercover operation, the NJ OAG just announced that it’s seeking civil penalties against 28 businesses for selling immigration services they weren’t authorized to provide.
Back in July, the Washington AG followed up on earlier civil actions by filing criminal charges for contempt and prohibited practices against two individuals who had repeatedly defrauded immigrants by selling immigration services they were not qualified to provide.
And earlier in 2018, the Cal DOJ filed criminal charges against three individuals who allegedly defrauded undocumented immigrants and families seeking lawful permanent residence in the US. The charges now include 32 counts of felony grand theft, conspiracy, and violations of the state’s UPL statute and immigration consultant law.
These are just three examples. For more, check the State Center’s Consumer Protection Report by searching for “notario” or “immigration” where you’ll find actions taken by other states including Nevada, Illinois, and Texas. These cases can provide a model for other AGs who are surely hearing reports of similar exploitation among vulnerable residents.
For more resources on immigration services fraud, see our earlier post on notario fraud (by Faisal Sheikh now at the ACS State AG Project), the ABA’s Fight Notario Fraud Project, or manuals, like this one, drafted by nonprofits that focus on immigration services.