Last week, we covered the potential dangers of hiring immigration consultants to assist in your immigration case. What can you do if you’ve been the victim of a scam by an immigration consultant? California law provides powerful remedies for recovering money from immigration consultants. For example, in 2010, the City of Oakland procured a judgment for fifteen (15) million dollars in damages against an immigration consultant business and its proprietors (you can read about it here). The remedies available to private persons and victims are nearly the same remedies available to the government to enforce immigration consultant law.
Immigration consultants that violate the law can be subject to civil penalties up to $100,000 per offense, payable to their victims. In addition, any damages suffered, such as money paid to the consultant, or fees paid unnecessarily, are payable to the victim, and tripled in amount (these are called treble damages) in a judgment. Moreover, the actions of an immigration consultant may be so egregious, that a victim may be entitled to punitive damages.
Even if you get these damages, how do you collect? California law requires all registered immigration consultants to file a bond with the Secretary of State for $50,000. In July 2014, that bond requirement will increase to $100,000. Under the law, victims of violations by immigration consultants can collect directly from the bond, which is held in trust for this reason.
Our law firm represents victims in a lawsuit against immigration consultants on a contingency. Meaning we will take a percentage of the amount you win in a lawsuit, but only after the lawsuit has been settled or otherwise completed, and, you’ve prevailed. You will not have to pay anything out of pocket to get the lawsuit going. In addition, suing an immigration consultant will not affect your immigration status. Thus, if you’ve paid for services from an immigration consultant and have not received the immigration benefits expected, or even worse, if you’ve been put into removal, you should contact our office immediately. We can help you with recovering money and assist you with your immigration status.