Santa Clara County Crack Down on Immigration Fraud

Arrests made of Immigration Consultants operating illegally
Be aware of immigration frauds
On Friday July 15, 2016 business owner Al Sanchez, and employee, Patricia Garcia Abonce were arrested for misdemeanor charges for illegally providing immigration services in San Jose. Photo Courtesy: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office

Office of the Sheriff

Santa Clara County, CA— In partnership with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff Deputies arrested two individuals on Friday July 15, who were illegally providing immigration services in San Jose.

Acting on a tip, the Sheriff’s Notario Fraud Investigations Unit determined that Al Sanchez Bookkeeping and Tax business located at 31 S. Jackson Avenue in San Jose, California was providing immigration services without the required Immigration Consultant clearance from the California Secretary of State and having the required $100,000 bond. Both business owner Al Sanchez, and employee, Patricia Garcia Abonce were arrested for misdemeanor charges.

“Immigrants can be very vulnerable targets for abuse and fraud,” said Sheriff Laurie Smith. “Cracking down on unlawful immigration service providers ensures immigrants get the services they are promised and the services they paid for.”

Santa Clara County has a very diverse population comprised of immigrant families from various different nationalities. It is critical that those in need of immigration services know that the providers they hire are both competent and are providing services that comply with legal standards. Often times, those who cannot provide immigration assistance legally, will attempt to gain the trust of an individual unlawfully perform immigration services, causing the loss of money or even worse, resulting in deportation.

Although there is no training or formal certification requirement, all individuals and businesses providing immigration services are required to follow the regulations listed under California Business and Professions Codes 22440-22449. Specifically, prior to engaging in the business or acting in the capacity of an immigration consultant, a person must have a $100,000 bond, satisfactorily pass a background check from DOJ and apply with the California Secretary of State as an Immigration Consultant. Compliance with the Immigration Consulting laws provides the first step in safeguarding the community from fraudulent immigration services and incompetent services resulting in lost cases or deportation.