Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx today filed a lawsuit against an immigration assistance service provider and her company for alleged violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and common law fraud.
Named in the lawsuit is Nadia Vargas and the Vargas Consulting Group LLC, a former Illinois for-profit, limited liability company. Nadia Vargas is the former manager and majority owner of the company. After the involuntary dissolution of the Vargas Consulting Group LLC in 2016, Nadia Vargas continued to conduct business under the same company name at 919 North Ashland Avenue and later, 1720 West Division Street in Chicago.
According to the lawsuit, Vargas Consulting Group LLC and Nadia Vargas provided immigration assistance services even though the defendants had not registered with the Illinois Attorney General or submitted verification of malpractice insurance or a surety bond.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants advertising and contract forms did not comply with the law and that the defendants failed to post mandatory signs at their place of business and charged fees that grossly exceeded the maximum amount permitted by law. The lawsuit also alleges that Nadia Vargas falsely stated to an immigrant customer that her immigration application had been submitted and then rejected by the Department of Homeland Security as part of an effort to cover up Nadia Vargas’ failure to submit the application to the Department.
In Illinois, Immigration assistance providers are regulated by the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. They must register with the Illinois Attorney General and submit verification of malpractice insurance or a surety bond. They may perform only certain limited and authorized services to immigrants such as translating and completing government forms, transcribing or translating responses to such forms, securing supporting documents, and notarizing signatures. Immigration service providers also must make certain disclosures in their advertising, contracts, and signage and are limited to charging a maximum fee of $20 an hour.
The lawsuit seeks to permanently enjoin the defendants from offering or providing immigration assistance services in the future. Refunds for victims and civil penalties of up to $50,000 are also being sought from the defendants.
The Cook County State's Attorney’s office maintains a dedicated hotline for complaints about immigration services fraud. Calls to the Immigration Services Fraud Hotline at 312-603-8678 are confidential, and federal immigration authorities will not be contacted.
The Consumer Fraud Unit may be able to help you recover your losses, prosecute the person or business responsible for the fraud, and prevent other members of the public from falling victim to the same scheme.
For more information about the pending lawsuit or about other consumer fraud matters, please contact the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Consumer Fraud Unit, at 312-603-8600.