Inside LADA

July 13, 2018: Unlicensed Immigration Consultants Offer Only Empty Promises

Deputy District Attorney Leonard Torrealba explains how the scam works in this video.

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People seeking immigration assistance should be wary of unscrupulous advisers promising work permits, citizenship and release from immigration detention.

In the Immigration Consultant Scam, con artists target vulnerable immigrants by offering services that either are not delivered or don’t help their intended needs. These immigration consultants and “notarios” are not licensed to practice immigration law or authorized to give legal advice.

People seeking help with their immigration status can lose sizeable sums of money or, even worse, hurt their chances of obtaining legal status.

The District Attorney’s Office recently filed charges against a woman who posed as an immigration consultant to bilk thousands of dollars from dozens of victims. She faces up to 28 years in state prison if convicted on all counts.

TIPS:

  • Consult with a licensed immigration lawyer.
  • If someone claims to be a licensed attorney in California, confirm his or her status on the State Bar of California website at http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/MemberSearch or call the State Bar’s immigration hotline at (866) 879-4532.
  • Obtain a copy of the consultant’s identification along with a written contract and payment receipts.

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