Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Woman Pretending To Be Immigration Lawyer Re-Arrested In San Diego

On March 11, 2009, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis, along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced today a woman who was awaiting sentencing on a grand theft charges involving targeting Hispanic immigrants has been re-arrested for once again committing the same crimes. Gladys Escobar was taken into custody this morning and booked into the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood, California.

In the first case, Escobar was charged in October 2008 and plead guilty to three counts of grand theft. According to the court pleadings, Escobar, who operated in North San Diego County, claimed to be a lawyer and filed a false application for asylum on behalf of undocumented immigrants. Victims believing Escobar had the legal authority to help them stay in the U.S. paid her thousands of dollars. Instead, Escobar initiated a process with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services which led the victims to inevitable deportation. Escobar admitted taking approximately $17,000 from her victims and as part of the earlier guilty plea and agreed to pay restitution.

The new charges stem from additional victims who allegedly were subject to the same scheme perpetrated by Escobar while her case moved through the criminal justice system. An arraignment date in San Diego Superior Court has yet to be set.

For the press release:

Commentary: Apart from representing licensed professionals, we have represented those who are accused of engaging in the practice of a licensed profession (such as law or medicine) without a license. We have also represented the professional who is charged with aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice. There are often paraprofessionals or managers who work in regulated fields who are charged. For example, the medical assistant who is giving injections.

There are also people who can legally not be licensed but have failed to make proper disclosures to clients or patients. In the immigration case above for example, there are immigration consultants who do not need to be licensed attorneys but once there is any deception or fraud these cases take on greater complications. As a first step, the licensing board will often issue a cease and desist letter or ask the person to respond to the letter. In such a case, the proper response can ensure that the investigation goes no further.

Any questions or comments should be directed to: Tracy Green is a principal at Green and Associates in Los Angeles, California. They focus their practice on the representation of licensed professionals, and have represented those charged with the unlicensed practice of law and medicine (or the aiding and abetting of unlicensed practice) in internal investigations, disciplinary proceedings, search warrants and criminal matters.


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