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Immigration Consultant Gets 10 Year Prison Sentence
For Defrauding Immigrants
Romina Aida Zadorian, doing business as RZ SERVICES, was charged with 106 felony counts including grand theft, forgery and identity theft as well as practicing law without a license and impersonating an attorney. The criminal charges accused Zadorian of operating a business to unlawfully take money from undocumented immigrants by falsely promising to obtain legal residency, work permits, and/or U. S. citizenship. Investigators stated that individual victims lost from $6,000 to $20,000. Prosecutors also said that Zadorian would collect additional money from her clients for “filing fees” and keep those funds instead of sending them to the appropriate agencies.
The State Bar of California and the Los Angeles District Attorney worked together to investigate the complaints of over 100 victims in this case. State Bar investigators obtained a court order and raided Zadorian’s offices where they confiscated 33 boxes containing 1,030 client files. As a result, RZ SERVICES was immediately shut down. The California State Bars reported that 16 businesses were shut down since 2006 for the unlawful practice of law. Bail for Zadorian was set at $1,115,000.
Representatives of the California State Bar and the office of the L. A. District Attorney’s office said that it is a high priority to convict people that prey on members of our immigrant community. They added that publicizing these cases will provide a deterrent to others that may be considering similar criminal conduct. These agencies advise people to carefully investigate the qualifications, experience, and credentials of those that hold themselves out as licensed attorneys. This can be done by using the State Bar website, www.calbar.org or calling their offices 1-800-843-9053 to verify attorney status. L. A. District Attorney Steve Cooley advises people to use licensed attorneys, especially immigration attorneys, for immigration matters. Licensed attorneys are highly regulated to protect the public and complaints against attorneys are promptly investigated. The State Bar works effectively to ensure that attorneys guilty of misconduct are punished and pay restitution to their victims.
Romina Zadorian pled “no contest” to 8 counts of grand theft under the terms of a plea bargain. “No contest” is the equivalent of “Guilty” in criminal cases but cannot be used against the person in civil proceedings. The remaining 98 counts were dismissed. She was ordered to pay $870,000 in restitution to 101 victims and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. This case reassures immigrants that they too will be protected by the law and warns unscrupulous people that exploit immigrants that they will be sent to prison even if their victims are undocumented immigrants. ¡NO SE DEJE!®
JESS J. ARAUJO, ESQ.