skip to content

Manhattan District Attorney's Office launches program to protect immigrants victimized by fraud, scams, and other crimes

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

  • By: Robert Morgenthau
  • Organization: District Attorney of the County of New York

Immigrant Affairs Program

The Immigrant Affairs Program was created on December 4, 2007 to address the victimization of immigrants. Immigrants seeking residency or citizenship are often preyed upon by criminals who steal from them by employing a variety of fraud schemes. Unscrupulous attorneys, fake attorneys, or other individuals and agencies that offer assistance to immigrants may demand large sums of money for services they have no intention or ability to provide. Undocumented immigrants may also be targeted for criminal schemes and exploitation related to their employment, wages, and housing. The program is meant to aid and encourage both documented and undocumented immigrant victims and witnesses who may fear cooperating with law enforcement because of their immigration status to do so. Regardless of immigration status, a victim or witness of an immigration fraud, scam, or other crime can report that offense to the Immigrant Affairs Program. When appropriate that complaint will be assigned to an Assistant District Attorney who will investigate the matter.

Contact Information:

To report or provide information about a fraud, scam, or other crime to the Immigrant Affairs Program, please call:

212-335-3600

(Interpreters are available in most languages including Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Fujinese and Polish)

Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

or

Visit the Special Prosecutions Bureau, One Hogan Place, 7th Floor

(Side entrance to 100 Centre Street)

Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

To report or provide information about a fraud, scam, or other crime at the District Attorney's Norther Manhattan Office, please call:

212-864-7884

(Interpreters are available in most languages including Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Fujinese and Polish)

Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

or

Visit the Northern Manhattan Office, Adam Clayton Powell Junior State Office Building

163 West 125th Street, 7th Floor, Room 733

The information you provide to the Northern Manhattan Office will be forwarded to the Immigrant Affairs Program.

You may also write to the Immigrant Affairs Program at One Hogan Place, New York, NY 10013 Attn: Attorney in Charge, Daysi Mejia

Examples of Fraud Schemes or Scams:

1) Individuals or immigration service providers who represent themselves as attorneys or who provide legal advice when they are not licensed attorneys.

2) Individuals who pretend to be agents for the federal immigration authorities and who offer special treatment or services.

3) Individuals or businesses that promise immigrants employment or work visas they cannot provide.

4) Consturction companies that hire immigrants to work on government funded projects but do not pay them the salary required by law.

5) Individuals who provide false investment opportunities or engage in pyramid schemes.

6) Individuals who produce and sell fraudulent social security cards, licenses, passports, and other documents.

7) Individuals or businesses that offer housing and other services but just take your money and disappear.

Be Careful With:

--Immigration service providers who tell you they can get you a special deal with the immigration authorities.

--Individuals who are not licensed to practice law but who hold themselves to be lawyers.

--"Notario" fraud. In this country, a "notario" is not necessarily an attorney.

--Service providers who will not provide a written contract.

--Lawyers or service providers who do not provide or return original documents or copies of forms submitted to the immigration authorities or other government agencies.

--Service providers who threaten to report you to the immigration authorities.

--Service providers with cash-only payment policies. Make sure to get a written receipt for any funds paid.

Other resources:

1) You can confirm whether an individual is a licensed attorney by contacting: The New York state Unified Court System, Attorney Registration Unit at 212-428-2800 or at www.ny.courts.gov

2) If you need a referral for legal services, you can contact the NYC Legal Referral Service at 212-626-7373 (interpreters are available in most languages including French, Fujinese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Polish) or at 212-626-7374 (for Spanish speakers).

3) If you are a low or moderate income person, who needs assistance with a legal matter such as immigration, housing, family, bankruptcy, or other legal issues, visit www.lawhelp.org to find a community program tha tcan provide legal assistance free of charge.

Login

National Practice Areas

Pro Bono and legal aid attorney resources - Pro Bono Net

LawHelp.org
Legal information for the public