As if aspiring immigrants don’t already have enough on their plate to be worried about, immigration attorney fraud is all too recurrent. Recently, a former Las Vegas resident was indicted by a grand jury on six felony charges in connection with a common immigration scandal we have seen in the past. An indictment is only a charging document, one that will bring the defendant to court; it does not presume her guilty.
Rena Esther Starks has been accused of falsely representing herself as an attorney, as knowledgeable in immigration practices, and as having connections in our nation’s capital. She made this false representation to numerous aspiring immigrants eager to expedite their process with a qualified lawyer.
In most cases, immigrants are very unfamiliar with the application and bureaucratic process, which makes them vulnerable to anybody that knows enough about immigration to toss around a few scholarly terms and convince the potential immigrant to hire them.
Attorneys are extremely helpful, and arguably necessary, in the immigration process due to its complexity. However, scam artists who pretend to be attorneys can be detrimental to the progress of an immigrant.
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt elaborates saying, “immigration is an area of law where missteps in the application process can be devastating to those hoping to gain residency or citizenship.” This is because meeting deadlines and completing the requirements is a strenuous and time-consuming procedure and the USCIS does not tend to be very sympathetic.
Individuals seeking assistance with residency and citizenship are encouraged to check the license of attorneys and confirm that they are accredited by the State Bar or recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Licenses of attorneys can be checked here, on the Fight Fraud America website. It is always welcoming and comforting to receive a generous hand; however, one must keep an eye out for swindlers looking to make some cash.