Keith Loria Jul. 26, 2010, 11:34am
SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna announced on Friday that he has settled with three individuals who allegedly provided illegal immigration advice.
Frank Herrera, owner of Herrera's Services Unlimited, agreed, under terms of the settlement, to pay over $10,000 to reimburse the state's court costs and provide restitution to any eligible consumers.
"The defendants improperly gave legal advice and used titles such as 'notario' and 'notary public,' which can confuse immigrants," McKenna said. "Worse, our investigation showed some individuals were given inaccurate advice that prevented them from obtaining immigration benefits they might have otherwise qualified for."
Immigration and Translation Services and owner Adelina S. Esquivel settled for over $4,000 in court costs and restitution.
Oscar Hernandez and his wife, Rosalinda, the owners of La Voz De Skagit, agreed to pay a $5,000 civil penalty and approximately $6,000 in court costs under terms of the settlement.
In most Latin American countries, a "notario" is a licensed attorney, however, the English term translates to "notario publico." A notary public in the U.S. can administer oaths and witness signatures, but under law, is not allowed to offer legal advice.
Under the terms of the settlements, each business must display signs in their offices letting any potential customers know that they aren't attorneys and are not allowed to offer advice about any immigration status, including obtaining work permits, citizenship and visas.
Although none of the three admitted any wrongdoing, each defendant must comply with all terms of their individual settlement or face additional civil penalties.