What is Immigration Services Fraud?

Posted on in Federal Crimes

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1066860836-1.jpgMost federal crimes related to immigration are committed by people trying to bypass immigration laws and remain in the country illegally or help someone else do so. Immigration services fraud is different - it is a crime committed against immigrants who are generally attempting to comply with the law. Immigration services fraud occurs when someone fraudulently claims to be able to provide services such as expedited work permits for immigrants. 

When this is done with the intent to defraud immigrants, federal fraud charges are likely. Unfortunately, people trying to lawfully immigrate sometimes face charges after being taken advantage of in one of these schemes. If you are in either situation, it is important that you take prompt steps to protect yourself, starting with calling a lawyer. 

How Does Immigration Services Fraud Work?

Legal immigrants may not always have an easy time staying in compliance. Work permits and visas must be kept current, and there is a lot of documentation to keep track of. The process of applying for any form of legal residency can take a long time and become frustrating. This is when fraudulent immigration services schemes come in. 

The scammer will approach immigrant populations and falsely claim to have some type of authority in immigration. They may offer expedited visas or other documents for a fee. Usually, the documents are fake. Or, the fraudster may falsely claim that they can somehow prioritize an individual’s application for citizenship so that the process will go faster. 

In some cases, an immigrant may be tricked into believing that they hold a visa or work permit when they do not. This can leave people in a very difficult legal situation. 

What is the Role of a “Notario” in Some Immigration Services Scams?

Some immigration services scams rely on a bit of confusion surrounding the role of a notary public, or “notario.” The connotations are different in the United States and in much of Latin America. In Latin America, a notario is generally a highly educated person capable of providing a range of legal services. In the United States, notaries are not qualified to provide legal services, but scam artists will rely on the fact that immigrant populations may not know this. 

People may be put under the impression that they are hiring someone similar to an attorney who is qualified to guide them through the legal immigration process when this is far from the truth. 

Call a Cook County Immigration Fraud Lawyer

If you are facing federal charges related to immigration services fraud, Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney can provide you with strong legal advocacy. Our experienced Chicago immigration fraud attorneys are adept at untangling immigration services fraud accusations to protect our clients. Call 312-629-0669 so we can arrange a free consultation. 


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