Notario Fraud is a common occurrence among numerous immigration communities in the United States. Scammers most often target Brazilian, Caribbean, Russian and Latino groups. The immigrant population is especially vulnerable to the attacks of” Notarios”, because most immigrants are afraid of deportation and have limited work, travel and education opportunities. A large number of immigrants experience language barriers and are not familiar with the US judicial system. With President Obama’s Executive Action, many immigrants have misconceptions about new options and rights. The so called “notarios” take advantage of poorly informed immigrants and make unrealistic – or patently false – promises in order to charge them money.
In Latin America, notarios most often possess a legal license. However, the same does not apply to ‘’notarios’’ the United States. Typically, a ‘’notary publico’’ is a person who claims he/she is qualified to practice immigration law because he/she possesses a US notary public license. Be aware that the possession of such a license does not grant one the right to practice immigration law.
In order to avoid complications and potential deportation, it is very important to seek the services of a qualified immigration attorney with extensive experience assisting foreign nationals with their immigration matters. Non-lawyers are not permitted to draft, prepare or sign any documents or immigration forms. In Florida, this is a 3rd degree felony.
According to Robert A. Kravitz, Senior Partner at the Miami-based Law Offices of Kravitz & Guerra, “notarios” not only provide poor advice, but often miss deadlines and file baseless, sometimes fraudulent applications.
If you believe you are a victim of immigration fraud, report it (even anonymously) to the Florida Bar, or to the American Immigration Lawyers Association of South Florida.
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