Attorney General accuses Colorado Springs-based firm of unlicensed ‘notario’ legal services | Courts

Colorado’s attorney general is seeking a court order to stop a Colorado Springs-based company from offering immigration and family legal services without proper authorization, the office said in a press release Thursday.

In a complaint filed Thursday morning, attorneys for the attorney general’s office alleged that One Connection LLC, advertised in court filings as an “immigration attorney” while providing tax, divorce and custody services, continued to offer legal services without being properly authorized and despite having been previously ordered not to do so.

The bureau charged the company with several violations of the law in the form of advertising and offering legal services without Colorado Supreme Court approval, failing to obtain proper licenses to practice law, failing to not inform clients that they do not employ attorneys and practice immigration law. without legal license.

“Individuals must be licensed to practice law in the State of Colorado,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in the statement. “My office will hold accountable those who misrepresent their professional credentials and target and harm vulnerable communities.”

Owner Maseni Munguia did not immediately return a request for comment.

“We certainly never intended to impersonate lawyers or anything like that,” said Noely Diaz, identified in the complaint as an employee at One Connection since 2020 and sharing duties there. low. “We are just paralegals, and for the most part we help the Latino community with translation, not representation.”

Lawyers alleged in the complaint that Munguia admitted in testimony to providing legal services, including advising clients on green card filings, and that the company charged higher rates for deferred action for arrivals. of children (DACA) and other citizenship documents that she had not declared to the investigators.

As part of their investigation, the bureau sent a Colorado Department of Justice employee posing as an undocumented person seeking legal status to One Connection’s door for a date, the complaint says. .

Munguia informed the employee of the various options to obtain this status, adding that she would “do everything” if the employee provided the necessary documents, the complaint states.

Investigators said she quoted the employee $1,500 for the DACA documents, although she said at another time that the company charged $150.

The office seeks an injunction in the form of forms, including a court order declaring a violation on behalf of the company of Colorado laws, penalties of up to $50,000 per violation of certain laws, restitution, enrichment without cause or other equitable relief to be determined at trial, and any other orders prohibiting the company from taking similar actions in the future.

The bureau noted in the statement that Munguia and One Connection had previously practiced law without a license, pointing to a 2016 investigation by the state Supreme Court attorney’s office into allegations that the firm was licensed to prepare immigration, divorce and bankruptcy forms for clients. .

As a result of this investigation, according to the release, Munguia agreed not to engage in any actions related to the “unauthorized practice of law in Colorado.”

The office said in the complaint that Munguia continued to do so “relentlessly.” They added that the complaint was part of “enhanced efforts by the Law Department to investigate and stop notarial fraud,” according to the statement.

Office explained ‘notarial fraud’ as unlicensed lawyers known as ‘notaries’ step in to promise Spanish-speaking communities ‘low-cost help they need to tackle complex immigration issues , family and legal”.

A review hearing in the case, according to court records, will be held at the El Paso County Courthouse on March 17.

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