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Attorney General Lockyer Obtains Temporary Restraining Order Against Major Immigration Consultant Businesses
(LOS ANGELES) – Two major immigration consultant companies facing civil lawsuits by the Attorney General must immediately stop advertising themselves as lawyers and provide customers with copies of documents completed on their behalf, Attorney General Bill Lockyer said today.
Immigration Solution Center ("ISC") and Immigration World Wide Services, Inc. ("IWWS") were directed to take those steps by the Los Angeles Superior Court under the temporary restraining order obtained Thursday by the Attorney General.
"We wanted this immediate action to protect hard-working Californians from being harmed by the misleading advertising of these companies," Lockyer said. "With the temporary court order, clients also now should have easier access to their documents to review or to take them elsewhere for processing."
Under the temporary restraining order, ISC and IWWS are prohibited from advertising themselves as lawyers, required to include conspicuous disclosures on advertisements stating that they are immigration consultants and not lawyers, required to post such disclosures prominently in their offices, and directed to provide customers with copies of documents completed on their behalf, and to return original documents to customers upon written request.
Further court hearing is set for October 25, 2001, to determine whether to prohibit this and further alleged unlawful practices, including failing to post required $50,000 bonds and making untrue or misleading representations to clients while providing client services, for the duration of the civil suits. The court will also determine whether to appoint a receiver to monitor IWWS and ISC's compliance with its order.
Lockyer filed civil complaints Wednesday against ISC and IWWS, alleging false advertising and violations of state laws regulating immigration consultants. State law requires, among other things, that immigration consultants must clearly state in advertisements, business cards, and on postings that must be displayed in their offices, that they are immigration consultants and not attorneys. The Act also prohibits consultants from retaining original documents of clients. The Attorney General brought related civil action against Asian Pacific Legal Services in Alhambra, owners Walter Wenko and Miao Huang Wenko, and six lawyers for alleged unlawful practices involving immigration consultant services.