A New Practice Takes Over After Immigration Scammer Pleads Guilty
by Franchette “RJ” Zamudio
*attempts have been made to contact the Kuderas and their lawyers, but no response has been received*
In a tiny office across from Bryant Park, was once the place of work of the now elusive Attorney Loreto Kudera. His practice no longer exists, and reputation tarnished by a case documented heavily by immigration journalists and a very unfortunate post by the United States Department of Justice. After pleading guilty of immigration fraud, Loreto Kudera, and his wife Hazel Kudera, paid a fine of $1 million. This was for falsely stating to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in St. Albans, Vermont, that foreign nurses whom the pair were helping to secure work in the U.S. would be working in specialty occupations, as required by the H-1B visa program.
The new tenant of the once Attorney Loreta Kudera’s tight Bryant Park office is a colleague of Loreto’s, Attorney Claudette Delacerna. After several attempts to reach out to Kudera and the lack of response, Attorney Claudette seemed like the closest link towards finding out what happened with Kudera’s case, or at least get a general grasp of the nuances of immigration fraud and the plight of immigrants through the immigration process.
Although Claudette initially refused to speak on the Kudera case, she had a lot to say about the current atmosphere of the general public towards immigration, and sheds light on how the current election has been perpetuating false information to her clients. To circle back to Kudera’s case, what she did give away was that she was taking over his regular clients, but those who had no involvement with the fraud and that his fraud case has been ongoing for several years from an even more previous practice which he ran with his wife, Hazel, that has just been resolved this September, 2016.
“His lawyer just advised him to stop with his practice and concentrate on his case…so that’s why he had to give up his practice,” Claudette reveals.
With Loreto Kudera giving up his private practice, his clients now need a new lawyer. This is where he reached out to Attorney Claudette Delacerna to recommend to them.
“It was timing. I was trying to get out of my other office. I was not planning on opening up my own practice,” she admitted.
Claudette explained as how the transfer of some but not all clients transpired. “[Loreto Kudera]said, ‘..if you want, you can take away the lease, register your own practice…and recommend you to my clients since they will all have to look for a new lawyer..’”
With a new business partner by her side, she now has her own website and a pool of clients, and now officially runs her own practice.
When Claudette, a graduate of the highly selective University of the Philippines, was asked what inspired her to go into immigration law, she just blatantly admitted, “To be honest, most people who go into this really just fall into it. Mostly because we’re immigrants ourselves.”
Given the current result of the presidential election, she has received several inquiries and concerns from clients worried on what Donald Trump’s supposed deportation plan will mean for their cases.
“For those who are here and pending, there’s not much he can do right now. These cases have been processing for over a decade, and there are too many nuances in the law that will be very difficult to change.”
Whether or not this new practice is built off of genuine cases, only time will tell.
(To destress, Attorney Claudette participates in the martial arts of Jiu Jitsu and Kajukenbo with her business partner Carlos, who also runs his own Kajukenbo business https://www.instagram.com/kajukenbonyc)
(Claudette is also publishing her own self-drawn coloring book.)