The Superior Court of the State of California took possession of the office of Eddie Bonilla, who falsely posed as an attorney, to retrieve the files of approximately 2,000 clients who paid him for legal advice, even though he operated his business without authorization.
This action was carried out under an interim court order to protect clients, after discovering that Bonilla (whose legal last name is Rivas Bonilla), charged with practicing law without a license by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, was continuing to operate his business illegally, disobeying a court order imposed in May 2017 prohibiting him from continuing to offer immigration legal services.
The court appointed the State Bar of California to contact all of Bonilla's clients. to return their documents and files and advise them to seek a licensed attorney to review their cases.
The court order also freezes Bonilla's bank accounts and his business.
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Criminal charges and legal action against Eddie Rivas Bonilla
November 2016, The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office filed criminal charges against Bonilla. for practicing law without a license and violating the Immigration Consultants Act, following a research conducted by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. in November 2015.
During an undercover and taped operation, Bonilla promised an investigator posing as a potential client that he could guarantee him an 85 to 90% chance of obtaining asylum if he paid him $$5,000 up front.
According to the authorities, Bonilla is not licensed to practice law and is not authorized under federal law. to represent consumers before the Board of Immigration Appeals or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
At a hearing held on April 10, 2017, Bonilla declared "no contest" to the charge of practicing law without a licenseagreeing not to contest the charges against him. Although he pleaded "no contest," for purposes of the law and the court Bonilla is considered guilty as charged and now has a criminal record.
The court sentenced Bonilla to 24 months probation and ordered him to pay $$1,450 in fines, serve 10 days of community service and not practice law without a license.
But Bonilla violated the terms of his probation. In another undercover operation on May 16, 2017, investigators found that Bonilla continued to operate his business Servicio Latino Legal Office and SLLSCO, Inc, located at 1625 W. Olympic Blvd, Suite M- 107 in Los Angeles, California.
June 30, 2017, a judge revoked and reinstated Bonilla's probation and added additional terms to the sentence.including 90 days suspended jail time, 10 additional days of community service and ordered to pay an additional $500 in fines. In addition, he was ordered not to destroy, alter or remove any client files in his possession.
California State Bar takes possession of Latino Legal Service Office
Given Bonilla's history, his failure to comply with the order prohibiting him from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, and the violation of his probation, the State Bar of California filed a petition for the court to take jurisdiction of Servicio Latino Legal Office and SLLSCO Inc. and all records to avoid further prejudice to the clients.
He also requested an injunction preventing Bonilla from continuing to practice law without a license and destroying client information.
Judge Amy D. Hogue granted the emergency motion. and set Bonilla's next hearing for July 26, 2017.
Servicio Latino Legal Office and SLLSCO Inc.
Bonilla operated his business under the name Servicio Latino Legal Office (Servicio Latino Legal Office) and SLLSCO Inc.
Servicio Latino Legal Office is a corporation founded in California in June 2004. The most recent Statement of Information (Statement of Information) filed with the Secretary of State of the State of California, lists Eddie Bonilla as president, secretary and chief financial officer, and Hernan Bonilla as the designated representative to receive legal notices.
The organization is currently suspended by the Secretary of State and the Franchise Tax Board of the State of California.
SLLSCO Inc. is a corporation founded in California in March 2013. The most recent Information Statement filed with the Secretary of State of the State of California, lists Eddie Bonilla as president and designated representative to receive legal notices. Also, lists Sandra Molina as secretary and Samuel Galdámez as finance director.
Where to report more complaints
If you or someone you know has been victimized by Eddie Rivas Bonilla, Servicio Latino Legal Office, SLLSCO Inc. or another person associated with this organization, call the State Bar of California at 213-765-1663 or 1-800-843-9053 and file a complaint.
If you think you have been the victim of an immigration scam by another immigration consultant or notario, report it to the authorities in the state where you live and to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-382-4357.
It is very important that you do not remain silent if you have been a victim of Eddie Rivas Bonilla, Servicio Latino Legal Office, SLLSCO Inc. or any other agency or individuals operating illegally. This is the only way to bring the full weight of the law down on these individuals and shut down businesses that prey on immigrants.
Providers such as Eddie Rivas Bonilla and his business Servicio Latino Legal Office and SLLSCO Inc. who offered unlicensed legal services have caused harm to immigrants, taking advantage of their vulnerability and need to seek legal status in the United States.
I thank the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and the State Bar of California's Chief Counsel's Office for investigating and prosecuting Eddie Rivas Bonilla and his business. I especially want to thank investigators Rigoberto "Rigo" Reyes, Esther Martinez and Frank Capetillo, Prosecutor Mike Feuer and Deputy Prosecutor Austin Travis, and attorneys Steven J. Moawad and Elizabeth Stine for all the work they have done to help the immigrant community.