Nearly two dozen new grand theft charges have been filed against two brothers who allegedly defrauded undocumented immigrants who came to their Inglewood consultancy seeking help in securing lawful permanent residence in the United States, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Friday.
Edgardo Antonio Guerrero, 69, and Hector Humberto Guerrero, 48, through their operation of Oficina Guerrero, charged thousands of dollars for legal services they were not legally qualified to dispense and failed to maintain a required bond, the Attorney General's Office alleges.
The men are due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on Sept. 21 on the latest charges.
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Edgardo Guerrero was initially charged in March with multiple counts of grand theft, unlawful practice of law and offering immigration services without a required bond, and his younger brother was subsequently charged.
Since then, Edgardo Guerrero's wife, Sidia Maroly Landaverde, 47, has been charged with tax evasion and conspiracy to violate the Immigration Consultants Act, according to the Attorney General's Office.
A man who answered the telephone at the listed number for Oficina Guerrero in March said the consultancy was permanently closed.
"Fraud is fraud, regardless of the immigration status of those being exploited," Becerra said in a statement detailing the new charges. "All families in California deserve protection from unscrupulous individuals who unlawfully take advantage of fear and vulnerability within our communities. At the California Department of Justice, we will prosecute this exploitation to the fullest extent of the law."
Those who paid Oficina Guerrero for immigration assistance and believe they may have been defrauded were encouraged to call the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (213) 974-1452, and complaints can be filed with the Attorney General's Office by calling (800) 952-5225.