Work Authorization Always Has a Connection to a Benefit or Application: A Dive into Maria’s Notario Fraud Nightmare

Work Authorization Always Has a Connection to a Benefit or Application: A Dive into Maria’s Notario Fraud Nightmare

By: Brian C. Malone, Esq.

As we mentioned in our first blog post in the work authorization series, work authorization is not a standalone benefit but is tied to an individual’s immigration status or circumstances. Let’s dive deeper into this concept and explore why it’s crucial to understand the connection between work authorization and immigration.

Notario Fraud and Maria’s Story

Now, let me share a cautionary tale about notario fraud and its impact on someone like Maria, who is the cousin of our fictional character Diego from before. Maria’s story sheds light on the dangers of seeking assistance from individuals who are not authorized to practice law, who are not qualified to assist anyone in seeking an immigration benefit, nor who are motivated by anything more than making money at anyone’s expense.

Maria, like Diego, wanted to obtain work authorization to build a secure life in the United States. Unfortunately, unlike Diego, she did not understand that work authorization in the U.S. is tied to an immigration status or pending application, and one cannot just apply for work authorization upon arrival without the necessary status or application filed first.

Maria trusted a notario who claimed to help her apply for work authorization. A notario is someone who misrepresents themselves as qualified to provide legal advice or assistance in immigration matters. In reality, notarios are not trained immigration attorneys and can cause serious harm to unsuspecting individuals. They take advantage of their victim’s understanding of the meaning of “notario” where the victim comes from, where a notario may be a licensed attorney who may be qualified to do the work that the scammers of the same name in the United States are not qualified to do.

In regards to Maria, she fell victim to a scammer who promised her a work permit with no issues. Maria trusted this person, but unbeknownst to her, the scammer filed an asylum application on her behalf without her knowledge and sent the paperwork to an incorrect address where Maria did not live. This was done because a work permit must be connected to something, and in Maria’s case, it was tied to an asylum application. Maria had no idea that she had an open asylum case.

Due to the incorrect address, Maria missed her scheduled asylum interview with USCIS, and her application was denied. Her case was then referred to an immigration judge in immigration court. Unfortunately, Maria did not receive the Notice to Appear from the court because it was sent to the same false address. As a result, Maria was ordered to be deported without her knowledge or the opportunity to defend her case.

Maria’s Struggle and the Fight Against Notario Fraud

It’s important to note that the notario was well aware of the consequences of his actions. He purposely had Maria’s mail sent to a Post Office Box in another state, knowing that she would be penalized for not responding to any government correspondence. This ultimately led to her deportation. The notario’s motive was solely to make money by providing Maria with a fake work permit. He was more concerned with scamming others and making a profit than the well-being of Maria or any of his victims.

Maria’s story is just one example of the devastating effects of notario fraud. Many vulnerable immigrants like her have fallen prey to these scams, jeopardizing their chances of obtaining legal status and risking deportation.

Notario fraud is a severe issue that targets immigrants seeking help. Everyone must be aware of the risks and take steps to protect themselves from fraudulent notarios.

Can a Victim of Criminal Notario Fraud Receive Immigration Relief?

Currently, immigration relief for victims of notario fraud like Maria can be challenging. However, some options exist, such as U-Visas for victims of certain crimes, including the “unauthorized practice of law.” U-Visas provide protection and immigration benefits to victims who cooperate with law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting fraudsters.

That said, obtaining a U-Visa based on notario fraud can be challenging, so it is recommended that any victim of notario fraud consult with an experienced immigration lawyer they trust to handle the complex application process. It should be noted that, depending on the circumstances, certain family members of victims seeking U-Status (the legal immigration status that a U-Visa provides) may also qualify for a different category of U-Status as “derivative beneficiaries,” which is a legal word for a qualifying immediate family member.

Many organizations and activists are committed to raising awareness and advocating for stronger regulations against fraudulent notarios to address the issue of notario fraud. Their efforts aim to protect vulnerable individuals from falling prey to such scams.

To report notario fraud, individuals can contact local and state consumer protection agencies, the Secretary of State responsible for notary public credentials, or file a complaint with local law enforcement or the district attorney’s office. Malone Immigration Law provides a resource list with information on where to report notario fraud at the national and state level, which can be accessed HERE

Remedies for Victims of Notario Fraud

As for remedies for victims, they depend on the nature and extent of harm suffered and the jurisdiction where the fraudulent act took place:

1. Criminal Charges & Disciplinary Actions: The accused notario can face criminal charges or, at the least, can have any relevant license revoked if there is a license in the first place.

2. Immigration Remedies: Depending on the impact of the fraud, victims may be entitled to specific immigration-related reliefs; however, it is often an uphill battle. For instance, if the scamming notario’s actions caused the rejection of a victim’s immigration application that the victim was unaware of, or worse, the victim can attempt to show that they did not knowingly file a frivolous application, reopen their removal proceedings, etc.

3. Economic Recovery: If the fraud resulted in monetary loss, the victim may recover these legally. This could involve a lawsuit for contract violation or damages under consumer protection laws.

4. Advocacy & Counseling: Victims might benefit from counseling and advocacy organizations aimed to help those who have been defrauded. Depending on the jurisdiction of the crime, local and state governments often provide different forms of victims’ services.

Contact Immigration Lawyer Brian C. Malone Today!

Because notario fraud can be complex, implicating several areas of law, it’s essential to engage a competent attorney to help navigate the situation. They can determine the best approach for reporting fraud, recovering losses, seeking reversal of immigration consequences, applying for immigration benefits, and holding the fraudulent notary accountable.

It is essential to stay informed and cautious during your immigration journey. Ensure that you are working with qualified professionals who have your best interests at heart. For legal consultation regarding notario fraud or other crimes you may have experienced in the United States, contact Malone Immigration Law. Mention this blog article for a free consultation. If you require resources or additional information on any specific topic within immigration law, you can also contact Malone Immigration Law at

Pro-Bono & Low-Bono Representation

Attorney Brian understands that some cases may require pro bono or low-bono representation. Throughout the year, he represents clients pro bono and low-bono and may consider such work in specific circumstances and as his schedule permits. If any case or client requires pro bono representation and Attorney Brian cannot take it on, he will make every effort to connect them with the best possible pro bono services. If you are not a potential client but would like more information on assisting pro bono clients of Malone Immigration Law, please get in touch with

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