New York immigration groups closing after fraud accusations

Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:34pm EDT

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks to reporters during the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates Arms Fair at the Saratoga Springs City Center in Saratoga Springs, New York October 13, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Hans Pennink

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks to reporters during the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates Arms Fair at the Saratoga Springs City Center in Saratoga Springs, New York October 13, 2013 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Hans Pennink

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(Reuters) - Two of the largest non-profit immigration service groups in the United States will shut down as part of a settlement of a lawsuit that accused them of defrauding thousands of clients, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Monday.

The International Professional Association will close immediately and the International Immigrants Foundation within two years, Schneiderman said. Their remaining assets of $2.2 million would be used to provide restitution to clients.

Schneiderman's predecessor, now-Governor Andrew Cuomo, filed a lawsuit in 2010 against the groups and their president, Edward Juarez, who for three decades has been a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues.

Cuomo said the groups charged exorbitant fees for services including securing work permits and residency and that their workers falsely claimed to be lawyers. Juarez was accused of using the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and provide jobs for his former wife and children.

"Organizations like IIF and IPA prey upon vulnerable individuals who seek a better life in this country," Schneiderman said in a statement.

Juarez said in a statement that the groups' cases were handled only by licensed attorneys. He added that he never faced criminal charges and did not have to admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

"The ultimate loser(s) were the immigrants themselves," he said.

The settlement is the latest setback for Juarez, who was a radio host and columnist for the Spanish-language newspaper El Diario prior to the 2010 suit.

The IIF and IPA, according to the suit, advertised their services as being free or inexpensive. But people who signed up had to make monthly payments and pay thousands of dollars in fees for different types of services.

Juarez and his workers then gave clients poor advice, including suggesting immigrants enter sham marriages to gain citizenship, or failed to file paperwork properly, according to the suit.

The case is Cuomo v. International Immigrants Foundation, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 400143-2010.

(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner; Editing by Ted Botha, Dan Grebler and Paul Simao)

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Comments (2)
bfar wrote:
EVEN THE “GOOD GUYS” are BAD . dear god.
who needs enemies (think of the awful latino sadistic gruesome drug gangs) — when your “friends” are immigration advocates……..

this is awful utterly demoralizing to Americans who grew up here….watching our neighborhoods swept with gang violence…….these folks do not appear to be here to make a better world — but rather to destroy ours — do that down there…….no need to come ruin our world —–IT IS WRONG AND IT MUST STOP/

Jul 21, 2014 3:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Just do a literature review and you’ll know whether immigration from failed states benefit or hurt a successful state. I did:
Benefits: cheap labor for food and unskilled jobs.
Cons: huge drain on social services like hospitals, clinics, schools, transportation, law enforcement, prisons and quality of life.
The immigrants from failed states tend to make mini-failed states within their host and influence life towards their failed state rather than adopting the successful culture of their host nation.

Jul 22, 2014 1:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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