Wednesday, July 27, 2005

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Attorney General Abbott Applauds Half Million Dollar Verdict Against North Texas Immigration Consulting Scam

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today applauded a more than $500,000 verdict against a fraudulent immigration consultant who swindled several Collin and Hood county families out of tens of thousands of dollars.

A Hood County jury imposed the penalties and restitution against Carlos Carvajal after the Attorney General presented evidence of 36 violations under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA).

Media links
Attorney General's lawsuit against Carlos Carvajal
Attorney General's temporary injunction against Carlos Carvajal
Permanent Injunction and Final Judgment

“This judgment sends so-called ‘immigration consultants’ a strong message that this kind of fraudulent activity will not be tolerated in Texas,” said Attorney General Abbott. “Consumers can face devastating consequences if they place their future in the hands of someone who falsely claims to be an attorney or legal expert. I will continue to pursue scams that prey on those simply wanting to call Texas home.”

Attorney General Abbott sued Carvajal in January, alleging that he charged several families hundreds of dollars per person to provide unauthorized legal advice and illegally prepare immigration documents out of his Plano home from 2002 to 2003. He continued to offer the fraudulent services after he moved to Hood County in 2003. Carvajal also falsely represented himself to consumers as a former immigration judge, and maintained he had connections with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

In Texas, only licensed attorneys and nonprofit organizations specifically accredited by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) can charge fees to advise and represent clients in immigration matters. Carvajal does not have BIA accreditaion.

Since assuming office in December 2002, Abbott has shut down two dozen operations statewide for providing unauthorized legal advice on immigration matters. For additional information, or to file a complaint against a suspected unauthorized immigration consulting operation, consumers can contact the Office of the Attorney General at 1-800-252-8011. Assistance is available in Spanish and English.