Two San Jose business people have been arrested in connection with illegally providing immigration services to unsuspecting customers, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office announced on Friday.
Owner Al Sanchez and employee Patricia Garcia Abonce of Al Sanchez Bookkeeping and Tax were booked on misdemeanor charges for allegedly violating the immigration service regulations, including receiving proper clearance from the California Secretary of State and having the required $100,000 bond.
The California Business and Professions Code essentially states that a business is not allowed to act as an immigration consultant for compensation without going through the necessary background checks, and providing services such as securing birth certificates for their client.
Someone who answered the phone at the bookkeeping business on S. Jackson Avenue on Friday asked not to be bothered anymore.
With immigrants making up more than 30 percent of the Bay Area’s population, according to the most recent Census, continuing fraud could lead to serious safety issues, the sheriff's office pointed out.
The sheriff said it's awful when people who take on the role of helpers end up gaining the trust of immigrants, and then deceive them, which can them to lose money and even be deported.
“Immigrants can be very vulnerable targets for abuse and fraud,” Sheriff Laurie Smith said in a press release. “Cracking down on unlawful immigration service providers ensures immigrants get the services they are promised and the services they paid for.”