John Suthers (R)
DENVER (Legal Newsline) - The El Paso County District Court has ordered a Colorado Springs, Colo., business to stop deceptive trade practices that include posing as and claiming an affiliation with the U.S. government.
The Immigration Center advertises itself as being composed of a team of professionals who deal with immigration questions and help immigrants to obtain and complete immigration forms. The deceptive practices by the Immigration Center are believe to have begun in 2007, continuing through this week and possibly affecting thousands of consumers.
A complaint filed by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers alleges that once consumers paid from $300 to $700 for the Immigration Center's help, it became apparent that the company was not a government agency. Consumers also then discovered that no actual attorneys or professionals with immigration law were assisting them.
The forms the Immigration Center forwarded to consumers were free immigration forms from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Consumers who then requested a refund of their upfront fee were then informed of the company's no refunds policy or simply ignored, the complaint alleges.
The complaint says consumers were also misled by the Immigration Center's web site, which lead consumers to believe that the company was either affiliated with or part of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Further misleading was alleged by the business for charging approximately the same amount of money that the U.S. government charges for processing of the immigration forms. This lead consumers to believe that the fees being paid would result in either a change in their immigration status or U.S. citizenship.
Immigration Services is also suspected of violations of both Colorado's telemarketing laws as well as failing to obtain a license to practice laws.
A settlement agreement with the Office of Attorney Regulation has recently been signed by Charles Doucette, one of the defendants named in the judge's order. The settlement restricts Doucette from selecting and completing immigration forms for consumers, activities considered as unauthorized practice of law.