An Indianapolis woman who performed immigration services to immigrants in Indianapolis' Hispanic community has been sentenced by a Marion Co. Superior Court judge for income tax evasion and the unauthorized practice of law. M. Esther Barber, also known as Maria Esther Tapia Cuevas, advertised her services under the title of "Notario" for a business she operated under the name Asociacion Civica Mexicana De Indiana, Inc. The Indiana Attorney General's Office has brought a separate action against Barber for the unauthorized practice of law under Indiana's Deceptive Consumer Practices Act.
Individuals like Barber often mislead Hispanic consumers about their credentials by using the "notario" title that is often confused with a "notario publico," a Spanish title for an attorney with specialized training. Barber pleaded guilty to two Class D felony counts of income tax evasion and a Class B misdemeanor for practicing law without a license. Barber received no jail sentence for her crimes; instead, she will be required to serve only 40 hours of community service. The Attorney General also contends that Barber owes the state Department of Revenue $58,194 in unpaid taxes.
If you question whether a person is licensed to practice law in Indiana, you can access Indiana's Roll of Attorneys by clicking here and typing in the person's last name to confirm they are a licensed attorney in good standing with the state of Indiana. Note that a "notario" or notary public is only licensed to administer oaths and witness the execution of documents. They are not authorized to provide legal advice to you.