Madigan Alleges Women Took Tens of Thousands of Dollars from Immigrants Seeking Help With Status in Separate Schemes
Chicago —(ENEWSPF)—May 3, 2018
By: Rosemary Piser
Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed two separate lawsuits against Elizabeth Olvera in Cook County and against Armendina “Dina” Romero in Winnebago County, alleging in both cases that the women operated immigration assistance scams costing immigrants thousands of dollars for fraudulent and unauthorized services. Madigan alleges Olvera and Romero are not licensed attorneys or employed by immigration attorneys. Also, neither woman works for an agency authorized to provide immigration assistance services or has registered with the Attorney General’s Office, as required by state law.
The two women have allegedly provided illegal immigration counseling and defrauded at least five Illinois residents out of nearly $35,000 after convincing people to meet with them in parking lots or restaurants.
Attorney General Madigan said, “The defendants exploited the fear and confusion that many immigrants experience to take their money. I urge people, regardless of their legal status, to contact my office for information on legitimate immigration help or if they have been the victim of fraud. My office does not ask for immigration status.”
In the wake of federal executive orders on immigration, Madigan has pursued numerous actions to ensure immigrants know their rights and protect them from fraud. She recently issued an alert to warn immigrants to potential fraud, including scam artists and unscrupulous immigration services providers who illegally pose as lawyers and demand excessive fees for assistance. Madigan also warned immigrants to be cautious of calls from people who falsely claim to be government or law enforcement officials and then demand payment and threaten deportation. It’s important to know that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will never ask for payment over the phone.
Illinois law requires immigration services providers to register with the Attorney General’s Office unless they are licensed attorneys or a nonprofit organization recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals. In addition to these regulatory requirements, immigration services providers must:
- Provide consumers with a written contract in English and their native language;
- Provide consumers with a three-day right to cancel the contract; and
- Return all documents to the consumer upon demand.
If immigrants have concerns about traveling to their country of origin, they should seek reputable and legitimate legal assistance, including contacting their local consulate office.
For more information regarding recent immigration executive orders, your rights and what to do, visit the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the National Immigration Justice Center or the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.
To file a complaint against an immigration services provider, visit Attorney General Madigan’s website, contact her office at 1-800-386-5438 or call her Spanish hotline at 1-866-310-8398. To learn more about immigration services provider fraud, visit Madigan’s website.