NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement Friday that will shutter two of the largest immigration services organizations in the nation after they allegedly defrauded immigrants.
The International Immigrants Foundation Inc., the International Professional Association Inc. and Edward Juarez, the president of both organizations, allegedly defrauded immigrants with false promises of residency and citizenship, illegally charged exorbitant fees for services, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and violated laws related to not-for-profit corporations. The settlement resolves a lawsuit Schneiderman filed against the defendants.
"In shutting down organizations that defrauded thousands and obtaining restitution for the victims, justice has been done for the many immigrant communities of the state of New York," Schneiderman said. "Organizations like IIF and IPA prey upon vulnerable individuals who seek a better life in this country, siphoning their hard earned money and sometimes destroying their chances to regularize their legal status here. My office is committed to combating immigration services fraud and ensuring that fraudulent organizations such as these no longer operate in our state."
Under the terms of the settlement, the entities must use their remaining assets, approximately $2 million to $3 million, to provide restitution to immigrants who were overcharged or defrauded by the organizations. All remaining funds will be given to organizations providing immigration legal services.
As part of the agreement, IPA must shut down immediately. IIF will shut down for two years and is banned from providing immigration legal services during that time. Juarez is prohibited from engaging in immigration legal services or serving as a fiduciary for any entity soliciting charitable contributions or any not-for-profit corporation in New York.