In a new development, a lawyer in San Francisco and his mother have been charged with a settlement of $400,000 for illegally running legal services related to immigration. The claim by San Francisco’s attorney Dennis Herrera is that the firm Lacayo& Associates was neither qualified nor authorized to perform these services. According to Dennis Herrera, the firm would charge exorbitant fees for nearly no legal support. This would in turn put countless people requiring immigrant status at risk, as they are left power-less in this situation. This type of activity, known as ‘predatory’ activity, preyed on the vulnerable people by offering services and then not going ahead to fulfill them. Herrera claims that this firm not only endangered immigration cases of prospective immigrants, but it also misused proper opportunities for these individuals to obtain legal residency.
The law firm’s website, headed by the lawyer in San Francisco, Leonard Lacayo, and his mother, was stated to have advertised only tax preparation services, but the state had received nearly 170 calls when it had set up a hotline number to track how many victims there might be. Of the total $400,000 settlement, approximately half will be used to cover the costs of the city’s involvement in the case, and the rest will be split amongst the alleged victims, based on the level of victimization faced. Apart from the above cash settlement, the lawsuit requires the firm to stop all services pertaining to immigration and to put up a statement in both Spanish and English that the law firm did not comprise of legal attorneys.
Lacayo, on the other hand, completely refutes these claims, and claims that the lawsuit is just a measure taken by the city to put him and his firm down, on the grounds that he supported Trump during his campaign. He went further and claimed that he wasn’t even a lawyer, and did not offer any legal services. Although he does state that he did house some immigration attorneys in his building, Bernal heights. Although both sides have extremely different claims, it will take at least a few more weeks to determine who exactly is on the right and wrong side of the law.