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VALLEY FOCUS | Reseda

Woman Sentenced in Failure to Post Bond

July 24, 1998|EDWARD M. YOON

A Reseda woman who owns an immigration consultant business is the fourth person to be sentenced after pleading no contest to failing to comply with a law requiring such businesses to post bonds with the state, according to Los Angeles City Atty. James Hahn.

Odilia N. Smith, 59, president of Immigration Services Inc. in Los Angeles, was charged with failing to post a $25,000 bond with the secretary of state's office as required by the Immigration Consultants Act, said P. Greg Parham, deputy city attorney in the consumer protection section of Hahn's office.

Smith was one of five Los Angeles-area immigration consultants charged by Hahn in criminal complaints filed June 14 stemming from investigations by the multi-agency Immigration Task Force, said Parham, who handled the case.

"The immigration fraud task force conducted investigations into several known businesses, including Mrs. Smith's business, and verified that she was not registered and bonded with the state, which is a violation of the state law," Parham said.

Other area immigration consultants sentenced in the investigation were Roger Martinez, 45, operator of Centro Hispano in the Westlake district; Ana Olga Del Cid Putzeys, 52, of Roisa Legalization Services, also in the Westlake area, and Nora Antonieta Guzman, 38, who operates the Immigration Service Center in the Wilshire district.

All four were ordered to pay $5,400 in fines and placed on one-year probation, Parham said.

Also charged with failing to post the required bond is Elmer Mejia, 31, operator of New Life Immigration Service in the Westlake district. Mejia is scheduled for trial July 30.

"I think we're sending a message to the community that this area of regulation is tightening up considerably," Parham said.

He also stressed that the public should check the status of immigration consultant businesses before using their services.

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