Not every person claiming to provide aid to the immigrant population can be trusted to do the right thing. A California man has been arrested and faces possible prison time for taking thousands of dollars from Mexican immigrants hoping to secure temporary work permits.
Federal authorities from the Diplomatic Security Service and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office arrested the 29-year-old man for visa fraud early last week. The complaint filed against him stated that he filed phony requests on behalf of valid companies that wanted to secure employment visas for their immigrant staff.
The suspect is currently out of prison on a $40,000 bond.
The prosecution has accused the man, who was working with a recruiting service in Mexico, of charging between $3,000 and $4,000 (about 50,000 pesos) to obtain a visa that would allow a worker to enter the U.S.
The man now faces a host of charges on a federal level and is scheduled to enter his plea in early July. He will likely be required to pay fines, and he may face extensive prison time.
According to federal authorities, this kind of scam is a common occurrence — common enough to call for a concerted effort to combat it. A number of agencies have combined forces to track down and prosecute so-called notarios. As a representative from the U.S. Attorney’s office said, these scam artists take advantage of immigrant communities, the communities that are often the most vulnerable.
“Notario” is a term used to describe a person who presents himself or herself as a lawyer to immigrants, offering legal advice or assistance, but who, in truth, has no license or legal training. The suspect in this case did just that, according to court records.
Source: Dailynews.com, West Hills man arrested in visa fraud probe, Associated Press, 09 Jun, 2011