Two Austin, Texas, groups, Just for People and Lead God, cheated immigrants by promising to help them become citizens, state prosecutors say.
A judge approved an asset freeze and temporary restraining order sought by the state attorney general's office, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
"Defendants prey on one of the most vulnerable groups of consumers in Texas, individuals in the United States illegally," the attorney general said in a lawsuit filed in Austin. "Instead of helping these consumers, defendants take their money, sometimes a substantial amount of money, provided no assistance, and then threaten the consumers with deportation when they complain."
Individuals named in court papers include Elizabeth Gabriella Paneque, a co-director of Just For People, who investigators say also uses the names Gabriella Gatjnes and Nilda Odalys Paneque, co-directors Frank Alarcon Marimon and Luz L. Guerrero, and Ayan Mohamed Ismail, a director of Lead God.
Just for People allegedly received thousands of dollars from those who sought its services, charging one man $11,000 and giving him no real help in return. In one case, a family paid $50,000 for assistance in bringing a number of its members to the United States.
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