In the light of what is happening with the current administration, it is more important than ever to be cognizant of the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL).
The latest immigration news is out of Columbia, South Carolina, where 43-year-old Veronica Perdomo plead guilty to the following:
- Fraudulently practicing immigration law
- Impersonating an immigration officer
Perdomo charged immigrants a fee to “assist” them with their immigration problems yet did nothing to help them. At times, she would pretend to be an attorney, officer, or employee working for or with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS/USCIS).
Perdomo faces sentencing as follows:
- Up to 20 years in prison for each of two counts of wire fraud
- Four counts (up to 3 years in prison for each) of impersonating an employee or officer of the US
- Twelve counts carrying up to a 5-year sentence each is for fraudulently affixing the seal of an agency of the US to a document
A co-defendant in the case, Latoya Sanders, had previously entered her guilty plea. In her role, Sanders assisted Perdomo in the charade and collected money from the victims.
Avoiding the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law
One of the first steps in avoiding unauthorized practice of immigration law is to find a legitimate immigration lawyer. UPIL has been a problem for decades. Those most at risk are unsuspecting immigrants who do not understand the system or have the means to hire an attorney. Many face fears of deportation.
Unfortunately, many people who fall victim to perpetrators of the unauthorized practice of immigration law have little money. What they do have they often hand over to fraudulent individuals who promise them immigration services they cannot provide.
The word “notario” is often used to describe individuals offering up immigration law services to those in need. In many Latin American countries, a “notario” is a notary public who is authorized to practice law and represent others before the government. That is not the case in the US. A notary public only has the authorization to witness signatures on forms. Unfortunately, some “notarios” in the US are out to mislead those most vulnerable and take their money.
For concerns about immigration status, please contact Coral Springs attorneys Brodzki Jacobs & Brook to discuss your options. Our immigration attorneys can provide answers to your questions. Contact us at (954) 344-7737.