One does not need to be a citizen to file Las Vegas bankruptcy, nor does one even need to be a legal resident. The only thing debtors need to do is demonstrate that they are whom they claim to be on their petitions and not provide falsified identification. One reason that immigrants, particularly Spanish-speaking ones, can find their way into bankruptcy is by purchasing the services of fraudulent immigration lawyers or similar legal “professionals.”
Here are several ways you can identify them:
· They claim to be lawyers when they are not. They might file the paperwork and claim that immigrants are supposed to represent themselves. Always verify attorneys’ credentials by looking on the state courts’ Web site.
· They take up local storefronts that say they can “guarantee” you visas, green cards, and employment authorization documents for a fee. Usually, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) charges less in filing fees than these businesses do.
· Some fraudsters try to confuse consumers by using Dot-Com Web sites instead of Dot-Gov Web sites that are legitimately run by the government.
· Other scammers run Web sites and send e-mails purporting to give people an advantage in the green card lottery. The only way to enter any of the immigration lotteries is by filing official government applications.
· Still other scammers claim to help immigrants work with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), even though the INS was replaced with the USCIS in 2003.
· Finally, some people will claim that they are “notario publicos,” notary publics in English. In civil law countries such as those in Central and South America, notaries have significantly more power than in the United States, where they can only witness documents.
The consequences of hiring a fraudulent lawyer to help with immigration services can be disastrous. Sometimes the fraudsters will file asylum claims based on laws applying to different countries than the immigrant is from, and then they will file the immigrant’s correct identification. The result is that the government now knows the immigrant is not in the country legally. In other situations, the scammers file no paperwork at all because it doesn’t create a paper trail leading back to them. In all instances, the scammers take money and either provide no services or substandard services. If you believe you were scammed by someone claiming to help you with your immigration documents, and it’s affected your credit, talking with an experienced Las Vegas bankruptcy lawyer can help you assess your options.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation. Call us at 1-702-880-5554 to set up your free consultation.