Local Company Accused of Scamming Low-Income Texans

PDF Version Available for Download

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2008

Contact: Cindy Dyar, Attorney
956.393.6203
cdyar@trla.org
Cynthia Martinez, Communications Director
512.374.2764
cmartinez@trla.org

WESLACO, Texas – Seven Rio Grande Valley residents are suing McAllen-based company Documents and More for scamming them out of their hard-earned money with the promise of providing legal help.

Represented by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), the leading provider of legal aid in Texas, all seven residents went to Documents and More for help with their divorces after seeing advertisements in the local media. The victims believed they were working with lawyers and legal experts who had a successful record of helping clients with their legal problems. But the help they were given was inaccurate and insufficient.

“Low-income residents are often at risk of being scammed by groups that claim they can help with legal problems for a low price,” said TRLA attorney Cindy Dyar.  “But these companies are usually only successful of robbing people of their money.”

One of the victims, Ana Olivia Calderon, sought the company’s help with her divorce after seeing their advertisement in the paper.  She paid $399 for documents that she believed would finalize her divorce.  Not only were the forms inaccurate, but a local court told her that they were also insufficient.  After turning to TRLA for help, Calderon revised her documents and was granted a divorce.

According to the lawsuit, Documents and More is being run from the same location and with the same staff as a company formerly known as We the People.  The Supreme Court of Texas Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee prohibited We the People from practicing law without a license in 2004 and the company was dissolved in 2007. Several of the lawsuit’s victims were introduced to Documents and More through advertisements for We the People.

Added Dyar, “If people need help with their legal problems and can’t afford an attorney, they should come to TRLA first.  We will either help them for free or refer them to someone who can.”

A copy of the complaint can be found at http://tinyurl.com/54ukwg.

Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality legal assistance and related educational services.

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