The immigration services business will be permanently off limits to an operation that allegedly posed as the federal government and tricked people into paying up to $2,500 for immigration forms, under settlements with the Federal Trade Commission.
The two settlements resolve charges the FTC filed in January 2011 against Immigration Center and its principals alleging that they claimed they were authorized to provide immigration and naturalization services, that they were affiliated with the U.S. government, and that fees paid by consumers would cover all the costs associated with submitting immigration documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The court subsequently shut down the operation, froze the defendants' assets, and appointed a receiver to control the business until the case was resolved.
In addition to banning Immigration Center, Charles Doucette, Deborah Stilson, and Alfred Boyce from providing immigration services, the settlement orders prohibit them from making misrepresentations about any goods or services, including federal government affiliation, the terms of any refund or cancellation policy, and their qualification to provide legal advice or services.
They also are prohibited from selling or otherwise benefitting from customers' personal information, and from failing to properly dispose of customers' personal information within 30 days. The order against Immigration Center, Doucette, and Stilson also imposes a judgment of more than $3.1 million against Immigration Center, and a judgment exceeding $3.7 million against Doucette and Stilson. The judgments will be suspended upon the surrender of certain assets, including a car and a mobile home.
The order against Boyce also imposes a judgment of more than $2.7 million, which will be suspended if the terms of the settlement order are met. The full judgments will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.