Los Angeles prosecutors have filed criminal charges against a man accused of practicing immigration law without a license, part of a new effort to target immigration-related fraud as the federal government prepares to expand a program that offers work permits to millions of people in the U.S. illegally, the Los Angeles Times reports. Jesus Luna Lozano, 52, has been charged with the unauthorized practice of law and other violations, City Attorney Mike Feuer said. Scams are on the rise as immigrants prepare to take advantage of the deferred action programs.
“Over the years, we’ve seen it happen again and again,” Feuer said. “With some immigration announcement come the scam artists.” Rigo Reyes, chief of investigations at the Department of Consumer Affairs, said there may be as many as 2,500 people unlawfully providing immigration advice in California, often to the detriment of their clients’ cases. Some promise to help immigrants get work permits, file asylum claims or apply for other types of relief without actually doing any work, or doing it improperly, he said. Many claim to be licensed attorneys but are actually state-accredited immigration consultants, who are permitted only to translate answers on immigration forms. Others are rogue public notaries who take advantage of the Spanish word for “notary,” which means “lawyer” in some parts of Latin America.