The period to submit claims has ended. Letters have been sent to all applicants who submitted claim forms. Determinations concerning restitution are final and non-negotiable.
About The Fund
New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has established an Immigrant Restitution Fund (Fund) to compensate individuals who were defrauded by two of the nation’s largest immigration services organizations — the International Immigrants Foundation, Inc. (IIF) and the International Professional Association, Inc. (IPA), both run by Edward Juarez. The Fund includes approximately $2.2 million dollars which shall be distributed among eligible former clients who received immigration-related services from IIF and/or IPA. The Fund was secured by Attorney General Schneiderman as part of a landmark agreement which permanently shut down IIF and IPA.
The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) will administer the Immigrant Restitution Fund. NYLAG will evaluate claims and forward payments to former IIF Members and/or IPA clients who paid for or received legal services. The last date for claims submission is November 6, 2014.
Only individuals who paid IIF/IPA for immigration-related legal services are eligible to receive restitution from the Fund. To be considered for compensation from the Fund, a claimant must provide a timely, completed and signed Claim Questionnaire. The Claim Questionnaire describes the information and/or documents necessary to establish eligibility for a restitution payment. Note that submission of a claims form does not, by itself, guarantee payment of restitution.
No restitution payment will be issued until all claims have been reviewed and evaluated. After costs and expenses related to the claims administration process are deducted from the Fund, remaining funds will be divided evenly among former clients with valid claims.
Claims will be allocated per case or matter with IIF/IPA regardless of how many individuals are tied to the case or matter. For example, only one restitution payment will be awarded where it is established that IIF/IPA was retained to file a single family petition. That restitution payment will be divided evenly among all of the family members on that petition who submit timely, valid Claim Questionnaires.
Background Information About The Case
In 2010, the New York State Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against two of the nation’s largest immigration services organizations, the International Immigrants Foundation (IIF) and International Professional Association (IPA) and their President, Edward Juarez, for defrauding immigrants with false promises of citizenship and residency, engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, illegally charging exorbitant fees for services, and violating laws governing not-for-profit corporations. An investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Office found that IIF lured immigrants to purchase “memberships” by promising members they would receive special privileges such as free or low cost legal fees. Once members requested legal representation, however, they were directed to IPA, where they were generally required to pay additional fees to have immigration papers prepared and filed—often by non-attorneys who were unqualified to do such work. In 2010, the court temporarily enjoined IIF and IPA from continuing to provide immigration legal services and in 2013, Attorney General Schneiderman secured a Court-approved settlement agreement which permanently shut down both organizations and required that the remaining assets of the two organizations, excluding expenses, fees and costs tied to the administration of the claims process, be used to provide restitution to immigrants who were defrauded or overcharged by the organizations. Defendant Juarez was required by this agreement to no longer provide immigration legal services or hold any position with financial responsibility for any non-profit organization in the State of New York.
For more information about the case, please visit the New York State Attorney General’s website here.
To file a new complaint regarding immigration services fraud or other fraud targeting immigrant communities in New York State, please contact the New York State Attorney General’s Immigration Fraud Hotline at: (866) 390-2992 or visit http://www.ag.ny.gov/feature/immigration-services-fraud.