3 Notary Public Businesses Ordered Closed, Immigrants Deceived
Three notary public businesses in Hidalgo County, Texas were ordered to stop operating and close their business permanently after they were discovered offering false immigration legal services to recent immigrants. The business owners were hit with permanent injunctions for violating the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Notary Public Act.
The business owners, Veronica Garcia and Cecilla Solis of Garcia & Solis Services, Marilla Luz of Immigration Help, and Ana Isabel Lumbreras of Montemayor Services, took advantage of recent immigrants seeking immigration consulting services by advertising their notary public business using the Spanish/English cognate “notario público” which in English looks like “notary public” but to recent immigrants without full grasp of the English language can be easily mistaken to mean a very specialized, highly experienced attorney. Not only did these notary publics advertise their services deceptively, but they acted as attorneys in order to perform immigration consulting services that they were not legally licensed to provide.
Unsuspecting clients of the defendants visited the business seeking visas, permanent residency and naturalization services.
According to federal law, any person offering immigration consulting services must be a licensed attorney, and any business providing these services must be accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals within the U.S. Department of Justice. None of the defendants or their businesses met these qualifications.
Although in Texas it is explicitly illegal for notary publics to provide immigration services unless they have a separate law degree, scam artists have taken advantage of unsuspecting immigrants for years.
You can read more about this story in The Monitor of South Texas.
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