Notario Fraud


It would surprise many immigrants from Central and South American countries to learn that a “notary public”, or a “notario publico”, performs a completely different role in the United States than in their country of origin. Throughout Latin America the word “notario” describes someone trained as an attorney who has the right to represent clients and draft contracts. In home countries for many immigrants in the United States a notario would be qualified to play a legitimate and powerful role in immigration proceedings -- but not here in the United States.

In the U.S., the term “notary public” describes a different profession and set of responsibilities. Notary publics, while able bear official witness to the signing of legal documents, have no authority to draft or even select those documents. Becoming a notary in the U.S. can involve no more than a few hours of training, passing a background check and paying a licensing fee to a state agency.

This linguistic a...more.

About this project

The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, a university research center with the mission to address the challenges and opportunities of demographic diversity in the 21st century global city, has produced these featured digital publications using the USC Media Curator, an online publishing platform designed to bring together innovative research from across the University of Southern California and beyond. This project curates research relevant for immigrant service providers on the topics of Access & Use of TechnologyAccess & Use of Financial ServicesNotario Fraud, and Driver's Licenses for the unauthorized.


Photo Courtesy of Chicago News Tribune

Chicago cracking down on ‘notarios’

Chicago’s consumer protection office has been cracking down on businesses providing fraudulent immigration services, reported Juan Perez Jr of the Chicago Tribune, in Chicago cracking down o...more.