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Attorney General Lockyer Files Complaints Against Unlawful Immigration Consultants
(SANTA ANA) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced he has filed complaints against two businesses in Orange and Riverside counties that were illegally offering immigration consultant services, primarily to Latino immigrants. The companies are accused of operating without having filed the required bond and ignoring other state laws designed to protect consumers of immigration consultant services.
"These lawsuits send a message to all unscrupulous individuals who illegally pose as immigration consultants, jeopardizing the financial and legal status of thousands of immigrants seeking services in California," Lockyer said. "We urge immigrants who need these services to make sure they are dealing with bonded, lawful companies, and that all legal services are provided by qualified attorneys."
The complaints allege the businesses and their owners engaged in unlawful and unfair business practices by failing to file $50,000 bonds with the Secretary of State's Office, a requirement intended to protect consumers from illegal operations. The firms also are charged with making false and misleading statements in advertising that they are able to provide immigration consultant services. The statements are untrue and misleading because in the absence of a bond, the defendants cannot lawfully provide immigration consultant services.
A complaint filed in Riverside County Superior Court names defendants Jose Coronado Vigil and his business, Servicio de Inmigracion Legal, which operates at 4850 Tyler Ave., Suite 687, in Riverside, and at 310 North Broadway Ave. in Santa Ana. A similar complaint was filed in Orange County Superior Court naming Alicia Beltran and her business, Consulado Documental Hispano, located at 4517 East Chapman Ave., in Orange.
The complaints ask the court to permanently enjoin the defendants and their employees, officers and other business associates from operating in violation of California law. They also seek civil penalties of $100,000 each, and the recovery of the state's costs and reasonable attorneys fees.
Since 2001, Lockyer has filed 28 lawsuits against dozens of immigrations consultants who have been operating unlawfully. In 2002, a Lockyer-sponsored law went into effect to boost the bond to $50,000 and increase penalties against non-attorneys who unlawfully offer legal advice to immigrants seeking help in obtaining work authorizations, establishing citizenship and other services. Immigrants seeking assistance or wishing to file complaint may contact the Attorney General's Office of Immigrant Assistance at (888) 587-0557, or at http://www.ag.ca.gov/immigrant/index.htm