MCALLEN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced permanent injunctions Wednesday against three allegedly fraudulent notario operations in the Rio Grande Valley.

A Hidalgo County District Court judge issued permanent injunctions against Marilla Luz, doing business as Immigration Help, Ana Isabel Lumbreras, doing business as Montemayor Services and Veronica Garcia and Cecilia Solis, doing business as Garcia & Solis Services. The court also issued a temporary injunction against Jairo Romanovich, doing business as Romanovich Charitable Services Inc.

Only licensed attorneys and federally accredited organizations may offer immigration consulting services, but some scam artists exploit a misunderstanding between the term "notary" and the similar sounding Spanish term "notario público," which refers to a specialized attorney.

Earlier in May, Abbott's office filed separate enforcement actions against the four defendants and charged them with violating the Notary Public Act and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The four defendants allegedly lack licenses to practice law or accreditation to offer immigration-related legal services. The court ordered the defendants to pay civil penalties.

The case against Jairo Romanovich remains pending. The temporary restraining order stops Romanovich from offering unauthorized immigration-related legal services.

Abbott's cases against the four defendants were part of his office's month-long crackdown on immigration scams in Hidalgo County. Since 2002, Abbott has shut down more than 75 business that provided unauthorized legal services.

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