The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office filed multiple criminal charges against three immigration consultants, accusing them of defrauding immigrants. Now, they are seeking the public's help in finding more victims.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Judith Gil, 65, and her daughter Minerva Gil, 36, and Eddie Rivas Bonilla, 54, operated illegal immigration consulting businesses in Los Angeles, through which they gave false information and unauthorized legal advice, profiting from and charging thousands of dollars to immigrants seeking legal status in the United States.
An investigation conducted by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, in collaboration with the District Attorney's Office, led to the filing of 20 criminal charges against Judith and Minerva Gil and four criminal charges against Rivas Bonilla.
- Judith Gil faces 17 criminal charges, including grand theft and unauthorized practice of law.
- Minerva Gil faces 3 criminal charges for improperly acting as an immigration consultant and unauthorized practice of law.
Both women are due to appear in court on March 12, 2019 to plead not guilty or guilty to the charges.
- Rivas Bonilla faces four criminal charges for improperly acting as an immigration consultant and unauthorized practice of law. But Bonilla has the aggravating factor that in 2017 he was convicted of illegally practicing law, including impersonating a false attorney, and having violated the terms of that probation.
Bonilla has his court date to answer the charges on February 13, 2019.
Representatives of the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs fear that the number of immigrants scammed by these three individuals is large because they were apparently well known in the community.
In 2017, for example, authorities seized approximately 2,000 files from Rivas Bonilla's office, indicating that he had possibly defrauded that number of people. The full impact of the actions of Rivas Bonilla and the Gil women is still unknown.
In the past five years, more than 680 complaints about immigration consultants and alleged immigrant scams have been reported, suggesting that many people do not report to authorities when they are victims of immigration fraud.
It is important that they do so in order to try to recover lost monies, prevent more immigrants from being swindled and that the justice system severely penalizes unscrupulous people.
If you or someone you know went to Judith and Minerva Gil or Eddie Rivas Bonilla for immigration legal advice and believe you have been a victim of immigration fraud, contact the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222.