Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced on August 20 that his Office has shut down three New York companies providing unauthorized and fraudulent legal services to immigrant communities, in the latest stages of his ongoing investigation into immigration fraud. Under the terms of the agreements secured by Cuomo’s Office, Immigration Solutions and Systems, Inc. of New York, Alisandra Multiservices, Inc. of Brentwood, Long Island, and All Immigration Services of Great Neck, Long Island are permanently barred from operating a business that provides immigration-related services and must collectively pay approximately $118,000 in penalties.
Cuomo also announced separate lawsuits filed today in New York State Supreme Court against three additional companies providing legal services to immigrants which they were neither authorized nor accredited to provide. According to the lawsuits filed today in New York State Supreme Court, Immigration Community Service Corporation of Manhattan, and Professional Solutions Consultants (doing business as Reliable Clerical Services and Reliable Immigration Services), and Centro Santa Ana, both located in Queens, offered legal counsel to immigrants without being licensed attorneys or having the proper accreditation. In thousands of cases across New York City and Long Island, these companies unlawfully filed immigration petitions with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of immigrants and their families, jeopardizing efforts to obtain legal status.
“The consequences of bad legal advice can be absolutely devastating,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Fraudulent legal services can haunt individuals and their families for a lifetime. Companies and individuals that represent someone in a legal proceeding without having the authority to do so must be stopped, and my office will hold them accountable.”
The settlements also require the companies to notify all former and current clients in writing that they are no longer providing any immigration-related services and to submit quarterly reports to the Attorney General of any complaints from the public.
The lawsuits against Immigration Community Service Corporation, Professional Solutions Consultants, and Centro Santa Ana allege that the companies and their owners not only gave unlicensed legal advice and fraudulently filed petitions with USCIS, but also failed to provide consumers with written contracts in both the consumer’s native language and English, as required by law. The lawsuits seek to permanently bar the companies and their owners from providing immigration-related services in the future and seek penalties for these actions.
This is the latest development in Attorney General Cuomo’s investigation, which began with a lawsuit against Miriam Hernandez of Queens for defrauding dozens of immigrants of more than $250,000. In addition, in May 2009 Cuomo issued more than 50 subpoenas to companies and individuals who are allegedly engaged in immigration services fraud.
It is our suggestions to Individuals who have been a victim of immigration assistance fraud are urged to contact the Attorney General’s Immigration Services Fraud Unit Hotline at (212) 416-6149.