Attorney General participates in multistate sweep to raise awareness about immigration-services scams

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that his office has joined with the Federal Trade Commission and a series of other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to highlight nearly 70 cases involving immigration-services fraud, including two case involving Colorado Springs-based companies, the Immigration Center and Simply Done Immigration.

“Immigration-assistance fraud is a serious problem that affects Colorado residents who are trying to become citizens or obtain work visas the proper way,” Suthers said. “It my hope that this sweep highlights law enforcement’s commitment to combating this troubling type of fraud. I would like to personally encourage any consumer who believes he or she has been victimized by an immigration-services company to lodge a complaint with my office.”

Immigrants with limited English language proficiency are often targeted by unscrupulous individuals and fraudulent businesses. These scammers often hinge their efforts to defraud immigrants on calling themselves “immigration consultants,” “notarios” or falsely claiming to be attorneys. Immigration-services scams typically involve companies offering to help prepare immigration paperwork, provide expert assistance or to provide federal forms to consumers. The companies often charge a fee for their services that mirrors the actually filing fee of the form consumers would be able to access for free from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The companies also typically fail to provide any level of expertise or perform any services the consumer could do for himself or herself.

Over the last two years, the Office of the Attorney General has investigated and prosecuted two such groups operating out of Colorado Springs. In 2009, the Attorney General’s Office filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Charles Doucette and his company, the Immigration Center. Earlier this year, the office filed another case against Joseph Corrigan and his company, Simply Done Immigration. Both Doucette and Corrigan settled with the state and agreed to cease operations and pay consumers back.

Doucette, however, moved his business to Nevada and continued to deceive consumers by posing as a current or former immigration officer and wrongly taking consumer's money in exchange for unlicensed immigration services. In January, the Nevada Attorney General’s Office filed a criminal suit against Doucette at the same time the Federal Trade Commission filed its own lawsuit against Doucette. The Colorado Attorney General’s Office assisted with the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation.

To learn more about the Office of the Attorney General’s cases against Simply Done Immigration and the Immigration Center, visit the Consumer Protection Case List page online. Consumers who believe they have been defrauded by an immigration-services scam should file a complaint via www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/complaint or 1-800-222-4444.

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