Herring sues Libre by Nexus: Alleges company preys on vulnerable immigrants
Attorney General Mark Herring has filed a suit against Libre by Nexus and its parent company, Nexus Services, alleging that the company preys on immigrants held in federal detention centers.
The suit alleges that Libre by Nexus offers to pay for immigration bonds to secure the release of immigrants held in detention centers while concealing or misrepresenting the true nature and costs of its services.
Joining Herring in filing today’s lawsuit against the Augusta County-based company are the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“Libre by Nexus has allegedly preyed on the vulnerabilities of terrified immigrants being held in federal detention centers, as well as their families and friends, for their own financial gain. Not only that, this company allegedly has forced its clients to wear GPS devices, essentially removing them from one prison but binding them to the business instead,” Herring said Monday.
“Today’s lawsuit is the culmination of years of hard work my team and I have put into stopping Libre by Nexus’ egregious exploitation of immigrants in Virginia and around the country. I want to thank my colleagues in both New York and Massachusetts as well as at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the partnership and collaboration on this important matter.”
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, alleges that the defendants have violated and continue to violate several laws, including the Dodd‐Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s prohibition on deceptive and abusive acts and practices, as well as the states’ consumer protection laws.
Included in the allegations:
That Libre requires consumers to sign confusing and misleading contracts that they present to consumers primarily in English, even though a vast majority of Libre’s clients do not speak or read English and do not understand it.
That Libre mischaracterizes its financial services as a “program” by boasting that it offers “wraparound services,” including free legal services. The suit alleges that Libre provides nothing more than a referral to lawyers for its clients, who may receive no legal services at all.
That Libre misleads consumers into believing that their monthly fees are paying down their bond as a debt owed to Libre and that portions will be refunded at the conclusion of their immigration proceedings. The suit alleges that only later do many consumers discover that Libre will not refund the fees.
That to collect fees, Libre created the false impression that it has associations with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or other government actors and that failing to pay fees to Libre can lead to arrest or deportation.
That Libre has placed GPS devices on clients that cannot be removed. The bulky device can cause physical harm and irritation and often fails to function.
The lawsuit seeks to put an end to the company’s illegal practices, obtain millions of dollars in restitution for victims and impose penalties on the companies.