SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued a consumer alert warning Californians to be wary of scam artists or untrained immigration consultants who prey on immigrants by falsely holding themselves out as legally qualified to assist with immigration matters. The consumer alert urges those who need help navigating the immigration process to seek assistance from licensed attorneys or legal aid organizations – not from notaries or immigration consultants.
“Scam artists who pose as immigration attorneys should be ashamed of themselves. Just as dangerous are immigration consultants, who are not trained or legally allowed to help with a consumer’s immigration case, but do so and often botch the job, landing consumers in removal proceedings,” said Attorney General Becerra. “All Californians – regardless of immigration status – have rights. At a time when the Trump Administration is sowing fear among hardworking immigrants throughout our State, the California Department of Justice will do everything in its power to ensure that those rights are upheld.”
The California Attorney General’s office has a long history of pursuing scammers who prey on individuals needing legal assistance or advice on their immigration status. Most recently, the Attorney General’s Office prosecuted immigration consultant Oswaldo Rafael Cabrera, who operated Coalición Latinoamericana Internacional, and harmed consumers by misleading them, taking their money, damaging their immigration prospects, and sometimes causing their deportation.
In December 2016, the California Attorney General’s Office formally charged Cabrera with felonies including conspiracy to violate the Immigration Consultants Act, grand theft, and attempted perjury. On February 22, 2017, Cabrera pled guilty to several felony charges and was sentenced to more than five years in state prison.