Crusading Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbot, has secured a judgment for civil penalties of almost $10 million against Yolanda Perez, a bogus immigration “consultant” who misrepresented her credentials and authority to render legal advice and provide services to scores of unsuspecting clients in immigration matters.
The state court judgment was the result of a lawsuit Abbott filed in February 2005 against Perez and her fake nonprofit corporation alleging numerous violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.“This judgment sends a clear signal to unscrupulous immigration ‘experts’ that these scams will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Abbott. “My office will aggressively prosecute those who violate Texas law.” (consumeraffairs.com)
The complaint alleged that Perez charged her clients for legal advice and services for which she was not authorized to provide and for the illegal preparation of immigration documents. Perez also lied to clients, claiming that she had been an employee of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
The suit charged a host of illegal activities by Perez over the course of four years that included: using misleading business cards; misrepresenting that she was affiliated with the churches where she worked; claiming to be an attorney; and illegally charging fees to advise and represent clients in immigration matters.
Perez charged clients initial fees of $300-$400 per person for help with various immigration-related services including assistance with visas, permanent residency, and travel and work permits.
The house of cards began to collapse when Perez’s victims became the subject of possible deportation proceedings due to errors the forms they had submitted, found they were ineligible for permanent residency, or lost hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in bogus legal fees and immigration filing fees.