You are here

Dreams Deferred

Share this page

When Langston Hughes wrote about a dream deferred (and asked whether it dries up like a raisin in the sun), he wasn’t necessarily thinking of scams. But many Spanish speakers found their immigration dreams deferred (if not ended) and their money taken by a Baltimore-based couple who promised help with immigration services.

The problem? Neither Manuel nor Lola Alban were qualified, or authorized, to provide immigration services. And, according to the FTC’s complaint, more than half of the immigration applications they submitted were rejected by USCIS. This was bad news for the people from El Salvador and Honduras who were targeted by the couple.

But there is some good news. The FTC announced today that a federal court has ordered the Albans to repay as much as $616,000 in refunds to the people who used their – ahem – services.  The same order says that the couple may not provide or promote these services in the future.

So, how can you avoid people like the Albans? Here is a place to start. Learn how to find an accredited representative or immigration lawyer; learn how to check them out; and read more about who can not give you help. People like notarios, immigration consultants, Manuel and Lola Alban – and sometimes even well-meaning friends – can mess up your chance to immigrate. And cost you a bundle of cash. So find someone authorized by the U.S. government to help you.

And if you find a scam along your path: tell us. We would like the chance to stop them, and your report could make the difference.

Tagged with: immigration, notario
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


on Zillow House finding service a person is trying to scam money by renting a house. The house address is 4116 North 42nd pl. Phoenix Arizona. They say that they were out of the country on some missions trip to help children with AIDS.they are asking me to fill out information by my email and the man is calling himself Pablo P Curiel. I am currently leading him on trying to find out how to get him busted!

You can file a consumer complaint at and report your experience. Also, in the article Rental Listing Scams you can find information and tips on spotting and avoiding rental scams.

Dear dustyrose,I just happened to see this. I am the legal owner of the property you mentioned.Mr. Curiel was a former tenant whose lease was not renewed when it ended 4/3/14.I would have been very curious to see what his ad was.What I can tell you is that he was not out of the country and working with AIDS children.I'm glad you listened to your gut feeling and did not get suckered into this obvious scam.

Leave a Comment