BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A crackdown on immigration scams. Investigators say thousands of immigrants are getting bilked by people who pretend to be able to help them stay in the United States.

Pat Warren reports on a case in Baltimore.

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Praying and preyed upon. For years, immigrants desperate for help with legal status have paid sometimes hundreds of dollars to unscrupulous operators who claim they can help.

According to the building directory, Loma International Business Group operated on the 7th floor of N. Calvert Street. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the group’s operators were running an immigration scam. Federal judges have ordered them to stop.

“They’re taking this money that they give them and then they don’t produce any results,” said Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler. “Of course the victims feel like, ‘We can’t go to police because our immigration status may be in  question.’”

Federal agencies are now cracking down on those scams.

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“Regardless of which side of the issue you’re on over immigration, nobody thinks people ought to be scammed and have their money stolen from them,” Gansler said.

While immigration remains a hot button issue in Maryland and the rest of the country, law enforcement is not ignoring unauthorized people who accept money for services.

“We’re trying to do an enforcement piece against the institutions that do this but also educate the public,” Gansler said.

No criminal charges have been filed against the operators of the alleged Baltimore scam.

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The Federal Trade Commission has launched a public service campaign warning against immigration scams.