Bryan Cave Once Again Stops Fraud on Immigrants Through Pro Bono Litigation
January 31, 2013
Bryan Cave LLP recently participated in pro bono litigation to address the problem of legal consulting fraud (sometimes called "notario fraud"), a situation in which a person misrepresents him or herself as an attorney to a non-English speaker seeking legal advice. Flores v. Ramirez arose from one of the largest reported scams against immigrants in Virginia, and is one of only a handful of notario cases that have been brought to court, both in Virginia and nationally.
On behalf of a victimized consumer, DC Partner David Zetoony and Associates Heather Goldman, Dan O’Connor, Liana Yung and Megan Gajewski brought suit against an individual who deceptively misrepresented himself as an "immigration attorney." The suit, which stated claims for violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, the unauthorized practice of law and fraud, resulted in a settled judgment of $25,000 and an injunction barring the defendants from providing, or advertising, legal services.
There has been increased national exposure regarding notario fraud and this case was part of an ongoing effort by Bryan Cave, in conjunction with Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., to combat legal consultant fraud.
Bryan Cave continues to support organizations such as Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C, Ayuda, the American Bar Association, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Council for Court Excellence, which all have indicated a commitment to curtailing immigration consultant fraud.