LOS ANGELES (CNS) — An immigration consultant has been convicted for the unlicensed practice of immigration law, authorities said.
Gloria Dora Saucedo, whose business is Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional also was convicted of performing unauthorized paralegal services that allegedly adversely affected the immigration status of some clients, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs.
Saucedo entered a plea of no contest to one count of unauthorized practice of law and was sentenced to 24 months of probation and 200 hours of community service, the DCBA reported.
Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, Inc., at 7915 Van Nuys Blvd. in Van Nuys, entered a plea of no contest to an infraction for performing unauthorized paralegal services and will pay a $2,000 fine.
Payment of the fine, restitution and fulfillment of community service has been stayed by the court pending appeal. A restitution hearing for seven clients of Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional is scheduled for Oct. 7.
“The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs is committed to educating, defending, and speaking up for the county’s most vulnerable residents,” said DCBA Director Brian J. Stiger. “If you believe you have been a victim of an immigration service or any other scam, we want to help you.”
Immigration consultants are not lawyers, and they have a very limited and specific role in helping someone complete the process to change their immigration status, Stiger said. Their role includes completing forms, translating answers, securing supporting documents, submitting forms, and making referrals to licensed attorneys, he said.
Immigration consultants must provide a written contract to consumers and cannot receive payment until they have completed the service, Stiger said.
Immigration consultants must also post signs to make it clear that they are not licensed attorneys, Stiger said.
Possible victims of Hermandad Mexicana were urged to call DCBA Investigator Annette Gonzalez at (323) 881-7099, or Investigator Janet Godoy at (213) 974-7241.
Victims with similar complaints against other immigration service providers can contact DCBA at (800) 593-8222, or file a complaint online at dcba.lacounty.gov.
All of DCBA’s services are free, and anyone can file a complaint regardless of immigration status.