Crimes of affinity | Buzz Blog
DONATE
We need your help.

Newspapers and media companies nationwide are closing or suffering mass layoffs since the coronavirus impacted all of us starting in March. City Weekly's entire existence is directly tied to people getting together in groups--in clubs, restaurants, and at concerts and events--which are the industries most affected by new coronavirus regulations.

Our industry is not healthy. Yet, City Weekly has continued publishing thanks to the generosity of readers like you. Utah needs independent journalism more than ever, and we're asking for your continued support of our editorial voice. We are fighting for you and all the people and businesses hardest hit by this pandemic.

You can help by making a one-time or recurring donation on PressBackers.com, which directs you to our Galena Fund 501(c)(3) non-profit, a resource dedicated to help fund local journalism. It is never too late. It is never too little. Thank you.

Crimes of affinity

by

comment

img_3166.jpg
Following CW's breaking of the story on May 6, 2009 of Leticia Avila allegedly taking thousands of dollars from undocumented LDS church members in an immigration scam, the Utah State Bar has finally stepped in to put an end to her alleged phoney-shyster game. The CW story, Money for nothing, documented how Avila charged numerous South American couples in her LDS ward $4,000 each to get their papers done by a Mr Fix-it known only to her. Using her religious connections in this way, according to the Bar's court docs, is known as affinity fraud. 

With the scam's at least 16-plus victims facing imminent deportation, they might take meager satisfaction from knowing that the Utah State Bar has gone after Avila in court for allegedly falsely representing herself as a lawyer. The Bar's papers, which were filed July 1, state Avila has been "engaged in a continuing course and pattern of conduct which constitutes the unauthorized practice of law and fraud," from 2005 to June 2009. The court docs also state Avila's links with a Sandy-based law firm, Ayres Law Firm, helped "enhance" her claims she was a lawyer. The bar is seeking a permanent injunction against Avila practising law without authorization and restitution for her alleged victims. Whether this court case means her victims, many of whom face deportation, will get to stay in the United States to see the court proceedings through remains unclear.  

Despite immigration lawyers in some cases having highly questionable reputations, this particularly lucrative sector of the legal community rarely if ever turns on their own. Avila, it seems, is the exception to the rule. But then, of course, she isn't an immigration lawyer.