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Company helping immigrants in detention ordered to pay $811M+ in lawsuit alleging deceptive tactics

PHILIP MARCELO
April 02, 2024

NEW YORK (AP) -- A company that provides services for immigrants in federal detention was ordered Tuesday to pay more than $811 million in restitution and penalties in a lawsuit alleging it used deceptive and abusive tactics.

Nexus Services must pay roughly $231 million in restitution as well as penalties of $13.8 million to New York, $7.1 million to Virginia and $3.4 million to Massachusetts, according to a judgement filed in federal court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg. The Virginia-based company, its subsidiary Libre by Nexus and its three executives must also each pay more than $111 million in civil penalties.

"This judgment is a victory for thousands of immigrant families who lost their life savings and were targeted and preyed on by Libre," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. "Libre exploited vulnerable immigrants and their families to pad its pockets, and that is illegal and unconscionable."

James joined state attorneys general in Virginia and Massachusetts and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a 2021 lawsuit that accused the company of violating state and federal consumer protection laws.

The officials said the company promised to secure immigrants' release on bond while their immigration claims were being processed but concealed and misrepresented the true nature and costs of its services. They said the company collected thousands of dollars in fees above the face value of the bonds and forced immigrants to wear painful ankle monitors.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Dillon noted in her decision that the company isn't a licensed bail bond agent or a surety company certified by the U.S. Treasury but a "service provider that acts as an intermediary between immigration detainees and sureties and their bond agents."

The company said in a statement that it intends to appeal the judgement, calling it a "shocking departure from normal American jurisprudence" as it was decided "without evidence, without a trial and without a damages hearing."

"We continue to remain committed to serving our clients - people who suffer and sacrifice for a better life, and who do not deserve to be political pawns in an American legislature or an American courtroom," the company added.

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