DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that an El Paso County District Court has ordered a Colorado Springs business, the Immigration Center, from engaging in deceptive trade practices, including posing as or claiming an affiliation with the federal government.
According to a complaint, filed by attorneys from the Office of the Attorney General, the Immigration Center advertised itself as being able to help immigrants obtain and complete various immigration forms. However, only after consumers paid $300 to $700 did they realize they were not dealing with a government agency. Consumers also discovered they were not being assisted by attorneys or anyone with expertise in immigration law. The forms forwarded to consumers by the Immigration Center simply were immigration forms readily available for free from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
When consumers requested a refund of their $300 to $700 fee, the Immigration Center relied upon a “no refunds” policy or simply ignored consumer requests, according to the complaint.
The Immigration Center’s Web sites also misled consumers into believing they were affiliated with or a part of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to the Office of the Attorney General’s complaint. The business is also alleged to have misled consumers by charging roughly the same amount of money as the U.S. government would for processing the immigration forms, which led consumers to believe the fees they paid would result in citizenship or a change in their immigration statuses.
The Colorado Springs business also is suspected of violating Colorado’s telemarketing laws and failing to obtain a license to practice law. Charles Doucette, one of the defendants named in the judge's order, recently signed a settlement agreement with the Office of Attorney Regulation that restricts him from selecting and completing immigration forms for consumers, activities which are considered the unauthorized practice of law.
The Immigration Center’s deceptive trade practices, according to the court filing, started in 2007 and continued through until this week, possibly affecting thousands of consumers.