Local News in Brief : End Immigration Aid Fees, Man Ordered

A Glendale man accused of victimizing Armenian and Lebanese immigrants by posing as a certified immigration consultant and gouging clients for green cards he was unable to produce was ordered by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Monday to stop charging fees for his services.

Judge Eli Chernow issued the temporary restraining order in a civil case filed by the state attorney general's office against Elie L. Khoury, director of the Kingdom and World Mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which he operates out of his home.

According to Deputy Atty. Gen. Jerry Smilowitz, Khoury has been fraudulently posing as a government-certified immigration consultant for several years, in some cases charging more than $1,000 for services he was unable to provide and then threatening to initiate deportation proceedings against clients who refused to pay his fees.

Although Khoury told authorities he has represented about 2,000 families in the Hollywood and Glendale areas, Smilowitz said it has not been determined how many immigrants were allegedly victimized, "but everything we've seen so far suggests we are dealing with something widespread." Khoury did not appear for Monday's hearing. The next one is set for Oct. 7. The government is seeking civil penalties as well as restitution for victims, Smilowitz said.

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