Judge: Co. Owes $15M in Botched Immigration Forms

By JULIA CHEEVER Bay City News
|  Thursday, Nov 21, 2013  |  Updated 7:18 AM PDT
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Judge: Co. Owes $15M  in Botched Immigration Forms

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Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker is set to announce a $15.1  million court judgment against a fraudulent immigration consulting  business that preyed on Oakland families seeking legal U.S. residency.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Colwell issued the  judgment ordering American Legal Services to pay $15.1 million in penalties  and damages on Nov. 7, according to court records.

Colwell also issued a permanent injunction on Oct. 28 barring the  company and several individuals associated with it from acting as immigration  consultants.

The two orders followed a non-jury trial in Colwell's court Oct.  21 and 22 on a lawsuit filed against the company by the City Attorney's  Office in 2010.

Office spokesman Alex Katz said the financial judgment is the  largest ever won by the city in litigation. 

Katz said the company advertised itself as a legal service,  although none of its employees were attorneys, and defrauded victims by  making false promises of citizenship.

Katz said some victims lost their life savings and some were  subjected to deportation proceedings because of botched immigration  applications.

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