As an immigration attorney in Texas, it is of considerable concern to me when workers or immigrants seeking documents to remain in the country are preyed upon by fraudulent “experts” or “consultants” who often provide no or erroneous advice and bilk clients out of their hard-earned savings. A high profile case in California involving a 26 year old Canadian shows the many pitfalls for fake immigration experts as well as their victims.
Andrew Boryski was an aspiring actor in Los Angeles who set up a website, and traveled to actors’ seminars to present himself as an immigration consultant who could facilitate the O-1 visa process. He often charged his clients up to $5,000 to help them receive a visa, but would then file no paperwork and fail to refund his fees, despite promises to do so. The O-1 visa is a work permit for entertainment professionals who are involved with pending projects. Boryski promised he would help his clients receive an O-1 visa even if they were not attached to projects.
He was arrested by officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s division of Homeland Security Investigations. Boryski was charged with 32 misdemeanor counts, which included three charges of grand theft, practicing without a license, and 28 violations of the Immigration Consultant Act. Boryski potentially faces 32 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
The investigation into Boryski was initiated after the City Attorney’s Office received three complaints about his activities from two Australian actors and an Irish hairstylist. Los Angeles city officials contacted federal officials in ICE, who had also received complaints about Boryski. A three month investigation concluded with Boryski’s arrest at Los Angeles International Airport as he tried to board a flight to Canada.
Federal, local and industry officials urged professionals in the entertainment industry to research the procedures for acquiring work permits and immigration documents, as well as the credentials for immigration consultants. The consequences for improper documentation can create devastating financial losses resulting from lost fees as well as loss of work opportunities due to deportation or detention. They also suggested that this case shined a spotlight on fraudulent immigration services that are “rampant” in Hollywood and other immigrant communities.
There are few more distressing situations than the loss of your savings to a fraudulent immigration consultant. Not only do you lose your money, but you may feel that you have no legal recourse if you are in the country illegally. Furthermore, if your paperwork was mishandled, you may face serious consequences like denial of consideration for legitimate visas and permits. You may even face deportation, detention or criminal charges.
As an immigration attorney in Austin, I am constantly confronted with situations where a family member has lost the chance to stay in the country legally because they allowed a notario to handle their immigration applications.
If you have a question or issue, contact me or an established legal or governmental authority to discuss the matter. My office is available at (512)215-5225 to provide discrete, private counsel on a variety of immigration matters.