According to the NY Attorney General: “Immigration fraud is generally defined as individuals and companies who target vulnerable immigrants by providing unauthorized and fraudulent immigration services.” The Attorney General is committed to combatting fraud perpetrated on immigrant communities and has charged the Civil Rights Bureau with conducting investigations into individuals and businesses who mislead immigrants about the services that may be provided. The Civil Rights Bureau may file civil lawsuits against those who engage in immigration services scams and the outcome can involve financial penalties as well as a prohibition against offering future immigration services.
In addition to penalties under state law, it is also possible you will be charged with a federal crime for running immigration services scams. If you are accused of immigration consultant fraud or any related offenses, Bukh Law Firm, PLLC can provide assistance in fighting the charges. We represent individuals and businesses facing state and federal charges and we provide assistance with the negotiation of plea deals, with seeking dismissal of charges, or with presenting defenses in court. Call today to learn more.
What are Immigration Services Scams
Immigration Services scams take many different forms including:
• Notario Fraud: Claiming to provide immigration services, without actually being qualified to offer assistance.
• Immigration consultant fraud: Purporting to serve as an experienced immigration consultant without appropriate qualifications, skills, or experience.
• Visa Lottery Scams: Promising immigrants that they will have a better chance of winning the visa lottery, or offering to enter them in the lottery if they pay a fee (entry into the visa lottery should be free).
• Practicing law without a license: No one except a licensed attorney is permitted to give legal advice. Immigrant services consultants should not offer legal counsel or guidance.
• Providing false documents: Providing any false documents to clients for immigration purposes is a serious federal crime as well as a state level crime.
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• Making false promises: Promising to provide services or assistance, or promising to guarantee a certain result, and failing to follow through on the promises is considered criminal fraud.
Deceptive advertising, making false representations, and practicing law without a license are all illegal acts that can lead to criminal prosecution as well as civil lawsuits.
Penalties for Immigration Consultant Fraud
Penalties for immigration fraud vary depending upon what specific type of fraud is perpetrated and depending upon whether charges are brought against you by state authorities or by federal authorities. A defendant who is accused of immigration consultant fraud or of any type of immigration scams targeting immigrants can be charged with crimes including:
• Engaging in acts prohibited by Article 28-C of NY’s laws on immigrant assistance services. Providers of immigrant assistance services who fail to include required provisions in immigration services contracts or who otherwise fail to fulfill requirements can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Reparations or restitution may be required, among other penalties.
• Unauthorized practice of law, which is defined a Class E felony under NY law if you are convicted of impersonating an attorney or offering legal services to the public even if you do not refer to yourself as a lawyer.
• Fraud and misuse of permits, visas, or other immigration documents, which is a federal crime under 18 U.S. Code Section 1546. Preparing any type of false immigration documents could lead to be maximum sentence between 10 and 25 years in prison depending upon whether the false documents were intended to help facilitate terrorism or drug crimes or whether the documents simply intended to circumvent immigration rules.
Deceptive acts and unlawful business practices under NY General Business Law Section 349 can also result in the state attorney general taking legal action “in the name and on behalf of the people of the state of NY.”
How Can a NY Immigration Scams Lawyer Help?
A NY immigration scams lawyer can aggressively represent your interests when you are charged with state offenses or with federal crime. Don’t assume an arrest means you have to go to jail, give up your financial gains, or stop offering immigrant services. Call Bukh Law Firm, PLLC to learn about your options for defending yourself to try to get a not guilty verdict or for exploring other alternatives to dealing with charges. Our legal team is ready to help you, so contact us today.