New York large immigration groups closing after fraud accusations

(Reuters) – Two of the largest non-profit immigration service groups in the United States will shut down as part of a settlement of a lawsuit that accused them of defrauding thousands of clients, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Monday.

The International Professional Association will close immediately and the International Immigrants Foundation within two years, Schneiderman said. Their remaining assets of $2.2 million would be used to provide restitution to clients.

Schneiderman’s predecessor, now-Governor Andrew Cuomo, filed a lawsuit in 2010 against the groups and their president, Edward Juarez, who for three decades has been a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues.

Cuomo said the groups charged exorbitant fees for services including securing work permits and residency and that their workers falsely claimed to be lawyers. Juarez was accused of using the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and provide jobs for his former wife and children.

“Organizations like IIF and IPA prey upon vulnerable individuals who seek a better life in this country,” Schneiderman said in a statement…

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