LOS ANGELES, CA – Three immigration consultants operating in Inglewood have received criminal sentences as a result of a joint investigation by the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) and California Attorney General’s Consumer Law Section and Division of Law Enforcement. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the sentences on Wednesday.
Edgardo Guerrero, who operated “Oficina Guerrero”, was sentenced along with two others for engaging in the unlicensed practice of immigration law and violating California’s Immigration Consultants Act. Guerrero was given a suspended sentence and three years felony probation on condition he serve 270 days of local custody and pay $149,994 in victim restitution. His brother Hector Guerrero was sentenced to probation and public work service, and his wife Sidia Landaverde was granted diversion for one year on condition that victims are paid restitution and community service. All defendants are now prohibited from providing immigration-related services.
Guerrero, who is not an attorney, charged undocumented immigrants, who were seeking lawful permanent residence in the United States, and their families thousands of dollars for legal services that he was not legally qualified to give, among other violations. Edgardo Guerrero pled guilty to grand theft and conspiracy to engage in the unlicensed practice of law. Hector Guerrero pled guilty to a violation of the Immigration Consultants Act. Sidia Landaverde pled guilty to failing to file a tax return.
“Those who prey on the most vulnerable consumers must be held accountable,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “DCBA’s collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General is a strong example of the success achievable when agencies unite around a common goal.”
“All consumers in Los Angeles County, including hard-working immigrants seeking legitimate legal immigration services, must be protected from fraudulent bad actors,” said DCBA Director Joseph M. Nicchitta. “We are thankful for the efforts of the Office of Attorney General Becerra and we are glad to play our part in bringing justice to the victims of these crimes.”
DCBA’s Office of Immigrant Affairs also hosted workshops in June 2018 to assist more than 200 of Guerrero’s victims and their families. The workshops provided victims with legal assistance and copies of files and personal documents recovered during a search warrant of the business.
If you believe you are the victim of fraud, including immigration services fraud, contact the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222.