Herrera sues fraudulent immigration consulting business for unlawfully providing legal services

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

City Attorney of San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco Superior Court judge will hear arguments today from City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office in his suit against a predatory immigration consulting business that has illegally provided incompetent services while robbing clients of thousands of dollars, according to a complaint filed Aug. 15. The civil suit against Lacayo & Associates and its principals, Leonard Lacayo and Ada Lacayo, describes how for decades they led clients to falsely believe Mr. Lacayo was an attorney who could provide legal services in their immigration cases. Instead, the defendants would take large fees from its clients and perform little or no work—placing some clients at risk of deportation in the process.

Herrera is seeking to expedite the briefing schedule in court in efforts to hasten a hearing on his motion for preliminary injunction. He argues that many more victims may be defrauded by the Lacayos’ unlawful practices and suffer irreparable harm if not stopped immediately. The lawsuit alleges that in deceptively operating their immigration consulting business, the Lacayos consistently violated a long list of safeguards mandated by the California Immigration Consultant Act. This included failing to post required notices, failing to provide contracts in the client’s native language, unlawfully offering legal advice and advertising their immigration consulting services without stating they are not lawyers, amongst other violations.

“For far too long Lacayo and his associates preyed on immigrants who are seeking legal assistance in their efforts to navigate through the complex immigration system and work on achieving the American dream,” Herrera said. Not only did they defraud victims by charging high fees for services they cannot lawfully provide, but they jeopardized their clients’ access to immigration benefits they are eligible for. Through this lawsuit I hope to bring the Lacayos to justice for their exploitation of immigrants in San Francisco.

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