A disbarred South Carolina lawyer has been charged with providing fake immigration services in the state. According to officials, the 55-year-old Hilton Head man has swindled at least 10 people out of money after he charged them for immigration services that were never provided.
The man began operating the so-called "full service" immigration nonprofit organization under the name Immigrant Angels Inc. in March. The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office ICE Task Force has confiscated hundreds of files from the alleged criminal, and they fear many additional immigrants may have been cheated as well.
Immigrant Angels closed suddenly in September, around the time victims began contacting officials after discovering that immigration documents they paid the man to help them with were never filed with the Department of Homeland Security.
The victims reported paying the man between $75 and $2,090 for immigration services they never received. This week, officials charged the man with 10 counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent.
One of the purported victims is a Jamaican national who said he went to Immigrant Angels to get help applying for permanent residency after he married an American citizen. The victim said he and his wife saved up more than $1,700 over eight months to pay for the services.
However, before the victim was provided any services, he learned that Immigrant Angels had closed and he could not reach the man who was supposed to be helping him. When the victim traced the check he had provided the man, he discovered it had been cashed and used to pay the man's rent.
This isn't the first time the man has been accused of fraud. In 2002, he was disbarred and spent a year in jail after embezzling close to $700,000 from a South Carolina couple during a real estate deal. Currently, the man is being held in county jail with bond set at $21,300.
Authorities are asking anyone who has dealt with Immigrant Angels to alert them immediately, regardless of their immigration status.
Source: IslandPacket.com, "Disbarred Hilton Head lawyer charged with providing phony immigration services," Allison Stice, Sept. 26, 2012
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