Ken Paxton

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Attorney General Abbott Stops North Texas Immigration Consulting Scam Artist

PLANO Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Consumer Protection Division has halted a Plano operation that falsely claimed on its Web site that it could provide legal advice and other immigration consulting services.

The Attorney General obtained a temporary agreed injunction against Naim Haroon, who operates a business called Sakhia & Associates, to stop him from advertising and charging for immigration services he is not authorized to provide. The Attorney General also froze more than $260,000 in business bank accounts belonging to Haroon. A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2006.

Whether in person or on the Internet, businesses in Texas are banned from deceiving consumers who are seeking help with immigration-related matters, Attorney General Abbott said. State law is quite clear about who is authorized to provide immigration consulting services, and those who disregard that law will be brought to justice. I will not tolerate the exploitation of those who want to make Texas their home.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit, which was filed in the 366th District Court of Collin County, asked the court to prohibit Haroon from advertising or providing advice or other services on immigration matters. The Web site focuses on business visas, offering to help prospective immigrants form U.S. corporations and identify business opportunities, all with the goal of entering the United States.

According to the lawsuit, Haroon’s Web site claims he is authorized to explain immigration law and prepare immigration paperwork, when in fact he is not an attorney and is not qualified to offer those 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.

Since assuming office, Attorney General Abbott has shut down more than two dozen businesses that are not authorized to provide legal advice regarding 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 (800) 252-8011 or visit the Web site at Assistance is available in Spanish and English.