Canada (McKoy’s News) – Toronto Paralegal Found Guilty of Defrauding Immigrants of Over $1M: A Toronto paralegal has been found guilty of defrauding clients of over $1 million and providing immigration services for which he was not licensed.
Toronto Paralegal Found Guilty: Victor Manuel Castillo Garcia, who was licensed as a paralegal by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2010, is said to have worked with clients from around the world — including Taiwan, Cuba, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Peru — for their permanent residence and work permit applications.
It is reported that Garcia failed to provide statements of account for money received from clients and instead, established a company, VIPA Financial, to receive payments and offer “financing” and credit to clients — an apparent conflict of interest.
The clients did not only lose their money but they were also unable to retrieve their original documents submitted to the paralegal for their applications, according to reports.
In one case, the paralegal partnered with an agent in Taiwan in 2013 to bring in 180 applicants for jobs in Canada at a price of $5,500 each.
It is further reported that more than $1.1 million was deposited into the man’s account, which was not a trust account as required by the law society.
Immigration laws stipulate paralegals can only represent refugees for their asylum claims and must register with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council to offer other immigration-related services. Garcia was not a member of the group, according to reports.
News has circulated that Garcia misappropriated over $1 million; relied on fraudulent documents; failed to serve his clients; practiced beyond the scope of his licence; acted in matters where there was, or was likely to be, a conflict of interests.
It is also said that the paralegal appears to be on the run from the law and that his whereabouts have been unknown since the summer of 2014.
Reports further state that some of the victims have filed complaints with Toronto police, who have been unable to locate Garcia.
In the Taiwanese case, the complainant, identified as Agent A, said she came to learn the employment contracts and approved labour market assessments provided by Garcia were fake when immigration officials rejected her clients en masse for misrepresentation and submitting bogus documentation.
Authorities also said their employment offers were fraudulent and banned them from Canada for two years.
According to further reports, Complainant Client B paid Garcia $6,000 in 2013 to obtain a work permit for her fiancé who lived in Cuba and an additional $5,000 for “the final stages” of the work permit application.
The paralegal is also reported to have said that he would meet with the fiancé in Cuba for his medical checks and police clearance, but never showed up and his phone number was no longer in service. By the time the complainant attended the paralegal’s office on St. Clair Ave. W. in 2014, it had already been abandoned. There was also no record of a work permit application being submitted to the Immigration Department for the woman’s fiancé.
In 2013 another complainant, Client H, reportedly paid Garcia $5,500 for a permanent residence application and provided him all of his original documents: work permits, study permits, employment contracts, school transcripts, English language exam, pictures, birth certificates and pay stubs.
The complainant emailed the paralegal repeatedly for updates on the application, with no response.
Toronto immigration lawyer Sergio Karas, who is not involved in the case, said he was not surprised by the complaints but was shocked by the hefty fees the paralegal charged.
He said a number of fees he was charging was incredibly high, over and above what lawyers would charge for the same kind of work.
Toronto Paralegal Found Guilty: In Garcia’s absence, the tribunal revoked the paralegal’s licence and ordered him to repay the law society compensation fund $33,680 and to pay costs of $15,555.