In his lawsuit, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson observed that the so-called immigration “practice” was run by a woman without any formal legal education.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a lawsuit against a Seattle business, alleging that its owner made “deceptive promises” to Brazilian immigrants.
According to KIRO7, Ferguson claims that Ana Carline Pinto do Nascimento, the owner of ACN & Associates, LLC, “targeted” Portuguese-speaking immigrants, promising to “help them with legal assistance for immigration needs, then later abandoning them in courtrooms after charging thousands of dollars.”
However, Nascimento is neither an attorney nor licensed to practice law.
In fact, KIRO7 suggests that Nascimento lacks any formal legal education.
Nevertheless, Ferguson’s lawsuit alleges that Nascimento told numerous immigrants that she would “represent” them during immigration proceedings—yet routinely refused to appear in court, and did not give her clients refunds when asked.
Ferguson’s office says that it filed its complaint after receiving complaints about Nascimento’s conduct.
Ferguson estimates that ACN & Associates rendered services to about two-dozen people, who paid Nascimento anywhere between several hundred and several thousand dollars for assistance filing and fighting asylum petitions.
In his complaint, Ferguson states that Nascimento, in some instances, charged up to $6,000 to process asylum petitions.
“Ana Nascimento preys on immigrants’ hopes to find asylum or work in our state, then abandons them when they need her most — when they’re standing before an immigration judge,” Ferguson said in a statement. “She deprived dozens of families of a qualified advocate, and cheated them out of their hard-earned money. My team will prosecute immigration scammers exploiting families who simply want to live and work in Washington state.”
The lawsuit cites one of the complaints, in which an English-speaking acquaintance of one of Nascimento’s clients laments the wasted fees.
“What is particularly obscene about this abuse of a helpless single mother seeking safety in the US, is that refusing to return the funds is actually preventing [her] from moving forward with competent legal representation … she could be deported because of this fraud/theft,” the acquaintance said.
Ferguson claims that Nascimento violated the Immigration Services Fraud Prevention Act, both because she is not an attorney and because she has no accreditations to assist in immigration proceedings.
Additionally, Ferguson accuses her business of violating the Consumer Protect Act by marketing and selling legal services in a deceptive manner.
ACN & Associates’ website, for instance, advertises “expertise you can rely on” and “immigration law you can understand.”
The Office of the Attorney General is seeking restitution for Nascimento’s alleged victims, as well as civil penalties.