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Local business accused of selling illegal immigration services

IBJ Staff
March 9, 2011
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The Indiana Attorney General’s Office filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday against an Indianapolis business for allegedly performing immigration services without proper licensing and training.

The complaint names The Mexican Civic Association of Indiana Inc. and M. Esther Barber, operating as Asociacion Civica Mexicana De Indiana Inc. at 2226 Shelby St.

Barber, who is not an attorney, is accused of knowingly violating the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act by providing advice without the required licensing and training, according to the suit.

The Attorney General’s Office alleges that Barber has advertised herself to the Spanish-speaking community as someone who can assist with immigration issues. Since 2006, she has allegedly prepared immigration forms for consumers for a fee, in violation of Indiana law. Two consumers lodged complaints against her after the paperwork did not comply with legal requirements.

The Attorney General’s Office is seeking an injunction against Barber to prevent her from advising consumers about immigration policies, preparing forms on their behalf or accepting payment for attorney services without a license to practice law.

Barber has been a public critic of immigration-reform efforts before the Indiana legislature.

The suit also seeks consumer restitution for unlawfully obtained funds, civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation and up to $500 for each intentional violation of the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.

“It is important that foreign nationals who wish to follow the law and get their immigration paperwork in order not be deceived by fraudsters motivated by fees who are unqualified to give proper advice,” Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a prepared statement.

Zoeller filed the suit in Marion Superior Court. He also filed a similar complaint against a Fort Wayne business, United Hispanic Caring Hearts, in Allen Circuit Court.
 

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  • just the beginning
    This is just the tip of the iceberg. This practice (illegal immigration services) is getting more prevalent with the growing illegal population in Indy.
  • Protected Class
    Is it no wonder that lawyers need lawyers to protect their extortion (income). Was this person practicing law or just filling out paperwork? If what she did was done by the individual themselves, would they have been arrested too? Doubt it. Sounds like some lawyers is trying to make sure they cash in on the non-citizens as much as employers do.
  • Conclusions
    Jump to conclusions much? No where in this article does it say she is assisting "illegal" immigrants. As someone who used to work in immigration law, there are plenty of reasons why those here legally could need assistance with immigration policies.
  • Deserving
    Hasn't it always been the case that those who beat their chests the most saying they are standing up for the oppressed minorities (in this case ILLEGAL aliens) are generally among those exploiting their situations?

    Barber has done our community no favors with her support of ILLEGAlS.

    I wish the AG well in his prosecution!
  • really?
    Lizzy - tolerance? For people who broke the law? You must be a liberal, because tolerance should only be for law breakers.

    Really now? Tolerance? Yeesh. You may as well have tolerance for the bank robber, since they are obviously doing this to get back at the evil majority?
  • Of course they are.
    Indiana in general is a very bigoted state. Read the boards about 80% go after every minority group there is. Indiana politics are also very bigoted. I am ashamed of this this state. Why do we not teach more tolerance?

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  1. This is still my favorite Mexican restaurant in town. What I do love about the new version is it is much quieter than the most recent version. TV's were off, the music wasn't too loud, and the wait staff were not hyperactive like they had been the past few times I had been there. I just wish they would bring back the MOLE for the enchiladas!

  2. Not a bad paper. There is a need for local community news and city government issues. Don't really need the owner's constant national political rants. We all know where they stand by now.

  3. What nice people. Menard should've known better than to team up with the guy who robbed and drove Conseco to ashes. I'm surprised Timothy Durham isn't involved in this.

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