City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed suit today against a San Francisco-based immigration attorney, accusing him of defrauding multiple clients and bilking them of their life savings to fight doomed immigration cases that often led to deportation.
The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, claims Martin Guajardo ran an illicit immigration law practice named Immigration Practice Group, P.C. for two years after resigning from the California bar while facing multiple disciplinary charges. The suit alleges Guajardo operated the front with assistance from attorney Christopher Stender, who is also named. Neither Guajardo nor Stender immediately returned calls Wednesday.
Herrera accuses Guajardo of charging excessive amounts for his legal work, making wild claims about his connections to people in government, grossly overestimating cases chances of victory, and filing "meritless" appeals to simply charge more money. He often preyed on people in immiment risk of deportation, or families of people already in immigration custody.
This is just the latest kick in pants to an attorney with an already storied past. The state bar had discipined Guajardo three times in the 1990s. He'd resigned from the bar of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Board off Immigration Appeals barred him from appearing before it. Guajardo then resigned from the state bar with yet more charges pending -- only to then allegedly start his front for an ilicit practice.