AMARILLO, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced a final judgment and permanent injunction on Friday against a Potter County consultant who allegedly provided immigration-related services without a license.
As part of the final judgment and permanent injunction, Clara Isela Hernandez, doing business as Clara's Multi Servicios, is prohibited from soliciting customers with claims that she is legally authorized to handle clients' immigration cases. Under federal law, only licensed attorneys and organizations accredited by the Department of Justice's Board of Immigration Appeals may offer services of immigration consulting
Hernandez allegedly violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Notary Public Act. Hernandez is a Texas commissioned notary public, but she is not licensed as an attorney or accredited by BIA.
Texas law authorizes notaries public to witness the signing of legal documents, but the law specifically forbids them from providing immigration services unless they hold a separate license to practice law. Scam artists have frequently exploited the misunderstanding between the term "notary" and the similar sounding Spanish term "notario público," which is used in Latin America to describe highly experienced, specialized attorneys.
Under terms of the judgment, Hernandez must pay a civil penalty of $20,000, in addition to $2,000 in customer restitution and $3,000 in attorney's fees and general court costs. Hernandez will be required to pay $2,000 of the civil penalty if she demonstrates substantial and material compliance with the terms of the permanent injunction.