Mr Karas, who was not involved in the case, said he was not surprised by the complaints but was shocked by the hefty fees the paralegal charged.
“The amount of fees he was charging was incredibly high, over and above what lawyers would charge for the same kind of work,” Karas said.
“This case really highlights the need for Ottawa to revisit the issue over who can practise immigration law in this country.”
Paralegal found guilty of defrauding immigrants ‘appears to be on the run’
By Nicholas Keung, immigration reporter.
A professional watchdog revoked the licence of Victor Manuel Castillo Garcia for misappropriating over $1 million, using fake documents and offering immigration services for which he wasn’t licensed.
Victor Manuel Castillo Garcia, who was licensed as a paralegal by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2010, 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.
The paralegal also 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 in interest, a law society disciplinary tribunal found.
Not only did the clients lose their money, they were unable to retrieve their original documents submitted to the paralegal for their applications, said the tribunal in its decision.
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.
More than $1.1 million was deposited into the man’s account, which was not a trust account as required by the law society, according to the tribunal.
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.
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