Four New Jersey businesses were fined $15,000 after taking advantage of Hispanic customers seeking legal immigration council. The businesses fraudulently convinced Spanish-speaking immigrants that they could act as lawyers and complete paperwork by marketing their services as “Notarios Publicos.” Notaries in some countries are identified this way, and they can provide legal services and advise clients. However, in the US, notary publics cannot provide immigration services, so these businesses are profiting at the expense of the immigrants.
Many institutions have been charged with fines for duping Spanish-speaking consumers; some businesses are paying thousands of dollars as a penalty for causing victims to lose money, face legal action, or even be deported. The issue of notary fraud is being addressed by a task force of investigators from the US Department of Homeland Security, and enforcers are becoming increasingly aware of notary publics attempting to exploit and take advantage of immigrants.