Tuesday, April 29, 2008
State Bar Raids Unauthorized Law Practice, Shuts It Down
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The State Bar of California yesterday raided and shut down a Montebello company accused of providing immigration legal services without a law license.
In a coordinated effort with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, the State Bar shut down operations of RZ Services Inc. after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe issued an interim order assuming jurisdiction over the company’s practice because its owner, Romina Aida Zadorian, is not licensed to practice law in California.
The raid took place after the State Bar obtained the interim order pursuant to Business and Professions Code Sec. 6126.3. The law, which entered into effect in January 2006, allows a judge, on the petition of the State Bar, to grant the bar jurisdiction over a law practice if there is probable cause to believe that the practice is being illegally operated by a non-lawyer and that a client or other interested party is likely to be harmed if the practice continues.
Immediately after the order was issued, a team of State Bar investigators entered RZ Services’ offices and seized client files, served a court order on several banks to freeze the company’s accounts, and notified the phone company and the postal service to reroute phone calls and mail to the State Bar.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies also arrested Zadorian at her office. The district attorney has charged her with 46 counts of grand theft, four counts of forgery and one count of identity theft.
Yaffe issued the order pursuant to a petition filed by the State Bar alleging that Zadorian is neither a licensed California attorney nor a duly bonded immigration consultant, and that she and her company provided legal services in connection with a variety of immigration applications, petitions and proceedings.
The State Bar alleges that Zadorian established a practice of collecting and then misappropriating filing fees intended for payment to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services.
In a statement released yesterday, State Bar Chief Trial Counsel Scott Drexel said that the joint operation had been undertaken in order to close down “an operation that preys upon and defrauds our immigrant population.”
“We believe that this and other similar operations will provide a critical deterrent for those who seek to take advantage of immigrants and others who are in need of legal advice and assistance.”
Yaffe also scheduled a hearing for June 10 for Zadorian and RZ Services to show cause why the court should not assume jurisdiction over the practice.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company