Immigration Scammers Charged Fees for No Services, FTC Says


An elaborate scheme that fooled prospective immigrants into paying hundreds of dollars in fees to a phony U.S. government agency has been shut down by the Federal Trade Commission.

The defendants, the FTC said, posed as the U.S. government to trick consumers into paying fees ranging from $200 to $2,500 to cover "processing fees" by what they referred to as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The real U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, offers advice and counseling to both immigrants and would-be immigrants. USCIS provides application forms for such benefits as Green Card renewal, work visas, and applications for asylum. The application forms are free, but can cost hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to process.