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Feds Launch LA County Effort To Combat Fake Immigration ‘Notarios’

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(credit: David Joel/Getty Images)

(credit: David Joel/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A nationwide campaign to crack down on immigration services scams will soon be implemented in Los Angeles County, officials said Thursday.

The program — which is being rolled out in seven U.S. cities from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles — is focused on curbing the victimization of millions of immigrants working to become U.S. citizens.

KNX 1070′s Pete Demetriou reports the U.S. Attorney’s office wants to end the unauthorized practice of immigration law by so-called “notarios”: paperwork processors who are not lawyers, but charge unwitting clients thousands of dollars in fees.

U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte says recent sentences of up to 8 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines should be a clear warning not only to crooks, but also to those who do not wish to become victims.

“We’re here to work with you, hold those scam artists accountable, and to spread the word and educate our communities so that others don’t become victims as well,” said Birotte.

Over the next six months, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission will partner with local agencies to share databases with information on groups and people tied to immigration fraud.

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