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Fight to defend immigrant communities from financial predators

4/22/2019, 10:21 p.m.
Predatory notaries pretending to help immigrants but instead stealing their money can now be prosecuted under legislation supported by state ...

Predatory notaries pretending to help immigrants but instead stealing their money can now be prosecuted under legislation supported by state Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, which prevents unscrupulous notaries from taking advantage of language and cultural difficulties to cheat vulnerable immigrants out of their hard-earned income.

"All Illinoisans deserve protection from criminals who try to exploit them for money," Connor said. "Notaries have been damaging our immigrant communities for personal gain by performing legal tasks they have no authority to do, or even by accepting thousands of dollars in fees and giving no services in return."

Connor is backing House Bill 2176, which requires notaries who are not licensed attorneys to clearly inform clients that they cannot accept fees for legal work, both verbally and by openly-displayed notices written in both English and Spanish. Notaries who do not follow these procedures can be fined up to $1,500 and lose their licenses.

"Financial opportunists take advantage of the difference between what notaries can do in other countries versus their more limited role in the US," Connor said. "We cannot allow immigrant families to face attempts at exploitation alone. Notaries swindling vulnerable people in this way should be held accountable."