In many Latin American and European Countries, a notary public or a notario has obtained the equivalent of a license to practice law and is vested with the authority to provide representation before the government. Because notario has a different meaning outside of the United States and notaries elsewhere play a different role,it is possible the use of the term can be misleading or even deceptive within this country. Those who are accused of taking advantage of the confusion could actually face criminal charges for notario fraud.
Notario fraud involves misrepresenting yourself as someone who is qualified to offer legal services or legal counseling in connection with immigration or other matters of law. Advertising that you are qualified to provide immigration services as a result of your position as a notario can lead to criminal charges.
Any false or deceptive advertising suggesting you will provide services you aren’t authorized to provide can lead to prosecution. Examples include:
- Claiming to be an abogado or attorney.
- Claiming to be authorized to represent immigrants before an immigration court.
- Claiming to be authorized to represent immigrants before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Claiming qualifications as a legal assistant, notary public, or court license that entitle you to offer legal advice.
Only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice or offer professional legal services within NY state. Advertising to suggest you can offer legal services, or actually providing legal services without a state law license, could lead to jail time and other penalties. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
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Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Article 28-C Section 460-c requires a sign to be posted in multiple language by all providers of immigration legal services who are not lawyers. The sign must state that the individual providing the services is not an attorney. The sign has to be at least 11 inches by 17 inches and the font used for the sign must be at least 60 point type.
Article 28-C Section 460-d mandates notice in all advertising, including signs, pamphlets, and newspapers, indicating that an immigration service provider is not an attorney and cannot provide accredited representation. Section 460-e prohibits providing legal advice, engaging in the practice of law, using the title of lawyer or attorney in any language, or advertising other titles like “notary public” that could cause an immigrant to believe that someone has special professional qualifications.
A violation of any provisions, laws, or prohibitions found in Article 28-C can result in Class A misdemeanor charges.
NY also prohibits unauthorized practice of law, which is a Class E felony, and NY General Business Law Section 349 gives the state attorney general the authority to file a civil lawsuit for any type of deceptive business practices.
Federal laws also prohibits the unauthorized practice of immigration law. 8 C.F.R. section 292.1 makes clear that only licensed attorneys and “accredited representatives” can represent clients on immigration matters. Notario fraud could result in criminal charges under a variety of federal statutes, including a charge of mail fraud or wire fraud if the Internet or mail is used to fraudulently misrepresent qualifications to provide immigration services.
Criminal prosecution, jail time, a civil lawsuit, and financial restitution are a few possible consequences of conviction for notario fraud. You could also be barred from advertising services to immigrants in the future. You need to be aggressive and proactive in responding to accusations that you have violated the law.
An immigration scams lawyer at Bukh Law Firm, PLLC provides legal representation to defendants who are facing state charges or who have been accused of a federal crime in connection with offering services to immigrants.
Call today to schedule a consultation and learn how our experienced legal team can provide advice and advocate for you in dealing with criminal charges.