A Richmond judge has ordered immigration bond security company Nexus Services to turn over all information requested by state lawyers investigating possible violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
The Virginia attorney general’s office is using a civil investigative demand to try to get Nexus records for an investigation into “potential misrepresentations and deceptive conduct.” Nexus raised objections to disclosure of “highly sensitive” information about its immigrant customers, “many of whom fear deportation efforts and/or violence from drug gangs.…”
Nexus rents ankle monitors to immigrants who are then able to obtain bonds to get out of detention. The Augusta County-based company sought a protective order and urged a confidentiality agreement with the state before it turned over complete customer files.
Nexus claimed its main concern in seeking a protective order was protection of its clients from deportation and prosecution. Richmond Circuit Judge W. Reilly Marchant dismissed that argument.
“Nexus’ request of the Court is more in the nature of a political request, not a legal one. The Court takes no position on the current politics of deportation, and the law clearly provides the Attorney General the right to seek the information sought in the CID,” Marchant wrote.
Nexus lawyers said they entered into a confidentiality agreement with the state of Washington, but Marchant was unmoved. “[W]hat the Attorney General for the state of Washington chooses to do for its own political or legal reasons is without precedential value to this Court,” Marchant wrote.
While a protective order was entered in a pending federal civil action involving Nexus, the civil investigative demand was a different matter, Marchant said. “This case involves a fraud investigation by a state Attorney General, not a private civil dispute between two litigants,” the judge said.
“In this case, the Attorney General needs the information to conduct its investigation of potential violations of the VCPA. Thus, personal information about bond holders, along with the names and contact information of other individuals who have dealt with Nexus and/or are connected to the bond holders, is pertinent to the investigation,” Marchant wrote.
The judge’s opinion letter is Commonwealth v. Nexus Services (VLW 018-8-071).