Following an undercover investigation, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office filed 5 charges against the Panorama City, California firm Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional and its principal Gloria Dora Saucedo, 65, for allegedly harming undocumented immigrants by practicing law without an attorney's license and violating the Immigration Advisors Act.
The prosecution also filed a charge of practicing law without a license against Saucedo's partners, Carmen Onchi and Maria Chavez, 27 and 33 years old, respectively.
Saucedo is due to appear in criminal court to be arraigned on the charges on April 15.
If found guilty as charged, Saucedo faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $$32,000. The other two women could face up to one year in jail and a fine of $$1,000.
District Attorney Mike Feuer announced that they filed the charges after conducting three undercover investigations by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs in 2014, initiated following complaints from two victims against Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional and Ms. Saucedo.
According to the prosecution, one of the complaints dates back to September 2012, when a woman says she paid $4,275 to employees of Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional to process a U visa for her. The woman says she never received the service and was later denied the petition for failure to submit the necessary documentation.
In another incident in February 2016, a victim paid $2,500 to Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional to have her status adjusted after her husband, a U.S. Navy veteran, died in December 2014. Because Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional did not advise her that she had to go for an interview with immigration officials, the woman lost her resident status and the Social Security Administration terminated her monthly widow's benefits because she was now undocumented in the country.
This is a victory for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office in its goal of going after notarios, immigration consultants and scammers of undocumented immigrants.
I denounced Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, Hermandad Mexicana Nacional and Hermandad Mexicana Legal Centers in 2013, but it took another 3 years before justice was served.
If you or someone you know was a victim of Transnational Mexican Brotherhood, call Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs investigators Annette Gonzalez at 323-881-7099, or Janet Godoy at 213-974-7241.
Others who think they have been victims of immigration scams by immigration consultants or notarios should call 1-800-593-8222.