Immigration lawyers and Hispanic advocates say fake attorneys and phony legal experts are cheating people across North Carolina. The problem is growing amid concern about immigration raids and tougher laws.
The State Bar has cited at least ten people and businesses in the past year for offering unauthorized legal services to Hispanics.
Offenders often persuade clients to apply for asylum or some other type of legal residency, knowing requests aren't likely to be granted, and charge them high fees for the services.
The problem is that many of the victims are too unsophisticated to make sure their counsel is legitimate. And prosecutors say they're often reluctant to report the scam for fear of getting in trouble themselves.