Suthers suit garners $2.5M judgment

Keith Loria May 11, 2010, 2:30pm


DENVER (Legal Newsline) - Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has obtained a $2.5 million judgment against a Colorado Springs business and its owners and operators for allegedly defrauding consumers in search of assistance in obtaining or completing federal immigration forms.

The judgment names the Immigration Center, and its owners and operators, Charles Doucette, Deborah Stilson and Alfred Boyce. The Office of the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Doucette and the Immigration Center in August, alleging that the business had engaged in deceptive trade practices, including posing as or claiming an affiliation with the federal government.

The complaint further stated that the business charged fees ranging from $300-$700 to help immigrants obtain and complete various immigration forms, but the non-refundable fees were identical to the fee the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would charge for filing the forms, which were available free of charge from the federal government.

The Immigration Center also did not provide consumers with assistance from attorneys or anyone with expertise in immigration law, it is alleged.

The court's order bars the Immigration Center from engaging in immigration-assistance services and requires the business to pay the state a total of $2.5 million in restitution and civil penalties.

Separately, the court approved a settlement with Doucette, requiring Doucette and Stilson to pay $85,000 in fines and restitution. The two will not be allowed to engage in the business of selling government forms or assistance with those forms under terms of the settlement.

The pair will also be required to desist any marketing associated with any immigration-assistance business, including taking down any websites associated with their businesses.

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