Think you know what Notario Fraud is? Most of us walk by advertisements and billboards everyday without spotting invitations for Notario services proposing to assist people in the community with various legal issues. And most of us in South Florida know that a “Notario Publico” in Latin America and European countries refers to an individual who has received the equivalent of a law license and who is authorized to represent others before the government. So what then is Notario Fraud? And, why should you care?
Notario Fraud involves individuals who are representing themselves as qualified to offer legal advice or services concerning immigration or other matters of law. These individuals have no such qualification and they routinely victimize members of the immigration community. A “notario publico” who obtains a notary public license in the United States, and who uses that license to support representations that he/she is qualified in the U.S. to represent clients in immigration matters, is committing Notario Fraud. Notarios who are not licensed attorneys practicing immigration law often expose clients to adverse immigration consequences including deportation, by not properly advising them prior to the submission of applications for immigrant status and/or work permits, applications for relief, etc.
Notarios often make representations that can permanently injure the client’s immigration status. In many case, the work performed by notaries results in the filing of false claims with the U.S. government, the filing of incorrect or incomplete immigration forms, or missed deadlines to name a few. As a result of the notario’s advice or actions, immigrant clients can miss opportunities to obtain legal residency, can become subject to criminal charges for the filing of false claims, and can be unnecessarily deported from the United States.
If you or someone you know has a potential immigration issue that needs attention, do not place the matter in the hands of a non-licensed attorney. Only a licensed attorney practicing immigration law can advise you properly. Receiving a correct case assessment can mean the difference between remaining in this country lawfully, or being deported and separated from your family. Having a licensed attorney on the case protects you and your family. If an attorney commits fraud or makes a serious error in your case, you have a remedy as a consumer to report this conduct.