Code Section

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 8. SPECIAL BUSINESS REGULATIONS [18400 - 22948.25]

  ( Division 8 added by Stats. 1941, Ch. 44. )
  

CHAPTER 19.5. Immigration Consultants [22440 - 22449]
  ( Chapter 19.5 repealed (as Chapter 20) and added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 248, Sec. 11. )

  
22445.  

(a) (1) A person who violates this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for each violation, to be assessed and collected in a civil action brought by any person injured by the violation or in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General, a district attorney, or a city attorney. An action brought in the name of the people of the State of California shall not preclude an action being brought by an injured person.

(2) The court shall impose a civil penalty for each violation of this chapter. In assessing the amount of the civil penalty, the court may consider relevant circumstances presented by the parties to the case, including, but not limited to, the following: the nature and seriousness of the misconduct, the number of violations, the persistence of the misconduct, the length of time over which the misconduct occurred, the willfulness of the defendant’s misconduct, and the defendant’s assets, liabilities, and net worth.

(3) Any action brought pursuant to this section by the Attorney General, a district attorney, or a city attorney shall also seek relief under subdivision (c) of Section 22446.5.

(4) If the Attorney General brings the action, one-half of the civil penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered, and one-half to the General Fund. If a district attorney brings the action, the civil penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered. If a city attorney brings the action, one-half of the civil penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the city in which the judgment was entered, and one-half to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered.

(b) In addition to the provisions of subdivision (a), a violation of this chapter is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than two thousand dollars ($2,000) or more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), as to each client with respect to whom a violation occurs, or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both fine and imprisonment. However, payment of restitution to a client shall take precedence over payment of a fine.

(c) A second or subsequent violation of Sections 22442.2, 22442.3, and 22442.4 is a misdemeanor subject to the penalties specified in subdivisions (a) and (b). A second or subsequent violation of any other provision of this chapter is a felony punishable by imprisonment in state prison.

(d) An action brought pursuant to this section shall be commenced within four years after discovery of the commission of the offense.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 605, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 2007.)