Fake attorneys targeting illegal immigrants

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Lupe Hernandez says she's doing what she can to keep her family together.   

"Family is very important to me. I have five kids ranging from 19 to 12 years old," Hernandez told 3 On Your Side.

That's because although Hernandez is a U.S. Citizen, and her husband, who doesn't want to be identified, is not.

To prevent him from possibly being deported to Mexico, Hernandez is trying to file all the right federal government paperwork to allow him to stay.

"He wants to get naturalized or have permission to work here especially now that he has a family," Hernandez said.

The Hernandez family was ecstatic when they were referred to a woman by the name of Donna Millman.

About a year ago, Millman supposedly says that she was an attorney, that she didn't do too much immigration work but was willing to file his paperwork, so she offered her services.

According to the family, Donna claimed to be an attorney, and for $2,500 she could get all the paperwork filed correctly and quickly.

She promised to file his paperwork to get legalized or get permission to be here legally.

A year later, Lupe and her husband say Donna Millman hasn't done anything and has disappeared with all that money.

So, exactly who is Donna Millman?  

What we found out is that Donna Millman is no attorney.  We discovered that she does work at a law office at a building here in Mesa and we went to her employer who told us she's a paralegal but in no way an attorney.

Not an attorney?  That's not what Donna Millman says in all of those hand written immigration documents she signed where she clearly writes, "Attorney at Law."

Because of our investigation, her employer immediately fired Donna Millman.

But, as it turns out, complaints about fake immigration attorneys are on the rise here in the Valley.

In fact, other viewers have contacted 3 On Your Side saying they were defrauded by people claiming to be immigration attorneys when they weren't.

Alex Gutierrez says she gave a woman named Consuelo Sanora $2,000 to help with immigration papers for her mom.

Jesus Aguilar says he gave the same so-called attorney more than $2,500 to file immigration papers for his daughter.

But they claim Consuelo Sanora did nothing except take the money and take off.

3 On Your Side tried several times to reach Sanora at her Mesa home, but no one would ever answer or call us back.

The same thing happened when we tried confronting Donna Millman.

As for Lupe and others who say they were victimized by phony attorneys, they all believe it's a much bigger issue in the Hispanic community.

Because they don't have a voice either, they're afraid to go to the police.

And that's the problem in many cases, illegal immigrants are afraid to step forward and the cases go unreported.

Licensed immigration attorneys tell 3 On Your Side that this is a huge problem and that they're glad we're bringing attention to it. 

And finally, if you want to find out if the person is a real, licensed attorney, just click here.