Attorney General Phil Weiser seeks court order against Colorado Springs-based One Connection LLC for practicing family and immigration law without a license
Feb. 3, 2022 (DENVER)— Attorney General Phil Weiser today announced that he is seeking a court order to stop the owner of a Colorado Springs-based company from practicing law without a license and deceptively advertising the business is qualified to provide family and immigration legal services.
An investigation by the Consumer Fraud Unit of the Colorado Department of Law uncovered evidence that Maleni Munguia and her company, One Connection LLC, as well as employee Noely Diaz, targeted and misled vulnerable communities, including undocumented and non-English speaking individuals, by failing to disclose that the business is not authorized to practice law in Colorado. Munguia and Diaz are also accused of failing to perform promised services and preparing legal filings and making errors that jeopardized their customers’ legal interests.
Under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, individuals must obtain all required licenses to perform services for consumers. Furthermore, the act prohibits nonlawyers from advising or assisting another person in determining his or her immigration status, applying for an immigration benefit, or preparing and selecting legal documents affecting the right of another in an immigration matter.
“Individuals must be licensed to practice law in the state of Colorado. The law exists to protect individuals, and these deceptive practices risk the safety and livelihood of individuals struggling to navigate emotional and complex legal situations. My office will hold accountable those misrepresent their professional credentials and target and harm vulnerable communities,” Weiser said.
This is not the first time Munguia and One Connection have practiced law without a license. In 2016, the Colorado Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Regulation investigated Munguia and her company for advertising they were “authorized to select and prepare immigration, divorce, and bankruptcy forms for clients.” Following the investigation, Munguia agreed to refrain from any further actions constituting the unauthorized practice of law in Colorado. However, she failed to comply with the agreement and continued to advertise and practice law without a license.
In a lawsuit filed in El Paso County District Court, Weiser is seeking an injunction ordering Munguia and One Connection to immediately refrain from unlawfully practicing law. The lawsuit also seeks penalties associated with their unlawful conduct. The lack of low-cost legal services to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking communities has created an opportunity for unlicensed legal practitioners, also known as “notarios,” to step in and promise consumers the help they need to tackle complex immigration, family, and legal matters. The complaint issued against One Connection is part of the Department’s greater effort to investigate and stop notario fraud.
On February 15, 2022, the Colorado Department of Law is hosting a free legal night in Colorado Springs where community members can ask questions of attorneys and learn about legal resources. The event runs from 4:30-8:30 p.m. at the Atlas Elementary School Gym, 1515 Pulsar Dr. in Colorado Springs.
Coloradans who witness fraud or believe they may be a victim of fraud should file a report with the Attorney General’s Office at 800-222-4444 or at StopFraudColorado.gov.