'Notarios' Defraud Tennessee Hispanics

"The fact that some portions of Tennessee’s immigration population do not have local roots as deep as in other parts of the country might make the lack of reporting to state officials here worse.  There are just fewer people around who can issue warnings about the dangers involved.  “In places like Texas and California, where the Latino population goes back three generations, or even farther, there might be less fear of reporting the crimes,” said Lewis, Garcia-Wisther’s lawyer. “Out here, if you’re in Smithville and you have a problem with a notario, you probably don’t know what to do about it.”  Over the past three years, the attorney general's office has taken legal action against 11 notarios, most of which resulted in judgments that effectively shut down the fraudulent operations.  But by most accounts, hundreds more notarios in all corners of the state are profiting unjustly from immigrants’ desperate situations.  “People have been hopeful for change for so long,” Lewis said.  “But it takes a huge chunk of time to prosecute these cases because witnesses are not easy to come by.”" - The Tennessean, Nov. 24, 2012.