AG James Ensures Strong Protections For Immigrants Seeking Assistance

20 Businesses Throughout NYC, Long Island, Westchester,
and the Hudson Valley Must Implement Best Practices

NEW YORK – As a result of actions taken by Attorney General Letitia James, 20 businesses must ensure critical safeguards for immigrants seeking assistance navigating the legal system are implemented. These businesses, which were in violation of key provisions of New York’s Immigrant Assistance Service Enforcement Act, are required to comply with the law and therefore model best practices to ensure immigrant rights are protected.

“In New York, we have strong laws to protect immigrants against fraud,” said Attorney General James. “Immigrants trying to navigate the legal system can be especially vulnerable to abuse. That’s why my Office is working hard to ensure that these laws are followed, and individuals seeking assistance are informed of their rights.”

The Immigrant Assistance Service Enforcement Act protects immigrants from fraud and requires providers to follow strict standards to operate lawfully. This law does not apply to lawyers or those working under the supervision of a lawyer; not-for-profit tax exempt organizations that provide immigrant assistance without a fee or charge nominal fees; organizations recognized by the Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP) that provide services through representatives accredited by OLAP; any authorized agency pursuant to Social Services Law section 371(10); or any person providing representation in an immigration-related proceeding where federal law or regulation establishes their ability to appear. Individuals or businesses that do not fall into these categories are defined by the Act as “immigrant assistance service providers.”

The 20 immigrant assistance service providers found by the Office of the Attorney General to be non-compliant with the Act are located in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and the counties of Nassau, Orange, Suffolk, and Westchester. These businesses have signed Assurances of Discontinuance (AOD) requiring compliance with the Act, which mandates that immigrant assistance service providers:

  • Provide clients with written contracts, which must be in a language understood by the clients, that outline their rights as immigrant consumers in accordance with the Act.
  • Maintain two office signs in English and every other language in which they provide services in their offices.
  1. One of these signs must indicate that the provider is not an attorney or U.S. Department of Justice (OLAP) accredited representative to provide representation before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Department of Homeland Security, the Executive Office For Immigration Review, the Department of Labor, the Department of State or any immigration authorities and may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice. The sign must also indicate that consumers can secure a free legal referral by calling the Office for New Americans Hotline. It must also inform consumers that they can file a complaint against an immigrant assistance service provider by calling the Office for New Americans Hotline, the New York State Office of the Attorney General, or their local district attorney or prosecutor’s office.
     
  2. The second sign must indicate the consumer can cancel their contract within three business days and receive their documents and a refund of money paid.
  • Their advertising must likewise indicate that the individual offering to provide immigrant assistance services is not an attorney or accredited by OLAP to provide representation before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Department of Labor, the Department of State, or any immigration authorities, and may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice.
  • Maintain a $50,000 bond, contract of indemnity or irrevocable letter of credit payable to the State of New York for the benefit of consumers who have not received a refund to which they are entitled. If the provider earns more than $250,000 during any 12-month period, then the surety must be in an amount that is 20 percent of its earnings and compensations.

The following businesses signed AODs and paid penalties of between $500 and $5,000 for failing to comply with the Act:

Nassau:                 The Hernandez Agency, 254 Maple Avenue, Westbury

New York City:      Saidou Ba & Family, LLC, 1133 Fulton Street, Brooklyn
                               High Class Business Services LLC, 64 East 174th Street, Bronx
                               Maduro & Son Multiservices, Inc., 2255 Grand Concourse, Bronx
                               La Doctora Multiservices, 2853 Westchester Avenue, Bronx
                               Via Tax Preparation, Inc., 600 West 139th Street, Manhattan
                               Luna Services NYC, Ltd., 5030 Broadway, Manhattan
                               Mendez Agency Corporation, 610 West 140th Street, Manhattan
                               Dominique Realty & Travel Services Corp., 1632 St. Nicholas Avenue,
                               Manhattan
                               Rose Paralegal Services, 1630 St. Nicholas Avenue, Manhattan
                               Joselito Travel, Inc., 9 Sickles Street, Manhattan
                               Janico Multiservices, Inc., 34-05 108th Street, Queens
                               Advanced Management & Multiservices, 3455 Junction Boulevard, Queens

Orange:                 Papeleria Services, 380 Broadway, Newburgh

Suffolk:                 KCE Immigration Service, Inc., 685A Suffolk Avenue, Brentwood

Westchester:        Sherman Immigration Services, Inc., 65 Court Street, White Plains
                               Hudson River Immigrant Services, 30 South Broadway, Yonkers
                               Infante Immigration Connection, Inc., 65 Court Street, White Plains
                               Velez Consulting Services, LLC, 76 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains
                               Sosa & Associates LLC, 434A South Broadway, Yonkers

To confirm that someone is a New York State registered attorney, consumers should visit the website: http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/attorney/AttorneySearch.

To confirm whether someone is an accredited representative, consumers can visit https://www.justice.gov/eoir/recognized-organizations-and-accredited-representatives-roster-state-and-city.

Additional resources concerning immigrant assistance service providers are available for download in:
o          English

o          Spanish; and

o          Chinese

The investigations were handled by Assistant Attorney General in Charge Roberto G. Lebron with the assistance of Assistant Attorney General Jason Clark, both from the Harlem Regional Office. The investigations were carried out in conjunction with Assistant Attorneys General in Charge Michael Barbosa, Gary Brown, Vinita Kamath, Kimberly Kinirons, and Valerie Singleton as well as Assistant Attorneys General Rachael Anello, Stephen Barry, Christina Bedell, Matthew Eubank Jennifer Gashi – all from the Division of Regional Affairs, which is under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Jill Faber and First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.

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