Mass. immigration lawyer barred from running asylum scam, ordered to pay more than $240,000 following Attorney General's lawsuit – Fall River Herald News


BOSTON – A Massachusetts immigration lawyer who allegedly exploited Brazilian immigrants seeking legal services has been found to have engaged in unfair or deceptive practices. Attorney George C. Maroun, Jr. was ordered by Superior Court Judge Christopher K. Barry-Smith to pay more than $240,000 in penalties and restitution and barred from any future illegal immigration services.
The order, issued after a 12-day bench trial in Middlesex Superior Court, follows a civil lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts attorney general’s office in 2018.
“This attorney’s business model targeted and exploited immigrants looking for legal help and made a profit at their expense, while also putting them at risk of deportation,” said Attorney General Healey in a prepared statement. “This was a hard-fought case by my office, and we are pleased to secure restitution and achieve accountability for those harmed by these illegal practices.”
Maroun, who was admitted to practice in Massachusetts almost 15 years ago, has maintained law offices in various locations, including in Somerville, Woburn, Chelmsford, and Stoneham.
According to the attorney general’s complaint, since January 2013, Maroun submitted immigration-related petitions and applications on behalf of more than 1,000 residents in Eastern Massachusetts, many of whom are Brazilian and speak limited English.
“Maroun advertised his immigration services to the Brazilian community by using outlets directed at Brazilian immigrants, including Portuguese-speaking radio shows. He also relied on word-of-mouth advertising among the Brazilian community,” wrote the judge in his findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Based on the evidence presented at trial, Justice Barry-Smith found that Maroun repeatedly violated the Consumer Protection Act by filing immigration applications on behalf of new clients without their knowledge or consent.
The judge also found that Maroun failed to explain to clients the legal processes he would use in their cases or the possible risks or benefits of those processes. Maroun filed asylum applications and affidavits containing false information, and filed untimely asylum applications which were nearly certain to result in denial and lead to removal proceedings. He also made false guarantees and misrepresentations about the likelihood he would secure clients legal immigration status and used threats of deportation to collect attorney’s fees.
Maroun has been ordered to pay $241,800, including $160,000 in civil penalties and $81,800 restitution for affected clients. He is also permanently prohibited from representing new clients, filing immigration applications, or soliciting legal fees without disclosing and fully explaining the legal processes, available options for clients, and any risks and benefits to his services.
Maroun is also required to obtain the client’s consent before undertaking any representation or filing any applications on behalf of the client and is barred from making threats of deportation or other negative immigration consequences in order to collect current or additional legal fees from clients.
In his decision, Justice Barry-Smith noted that the Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers are in a position to decide whether to place restrictions on Maroun’s ability to practice law in the Commonwealth.
To report an immigration scam, call the Massachusetts attorney general’s Civil Rights Division at 617-963-2917.
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