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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Big Trouble|for ‘Rabbi David’

MANHATTAN (CN) - A man who calls himself Rabbi Avrahom David was extradited from Canada to face charges of money laundering and conspiring to make "millions of dollars" by submitting "at least 25,000" fraudulent claims for immigration relief and labor certification.

Earl Seth David aka Rabbi Avrahom David is the lead defendant in a four-count federal indictment against him and 12 alleged co-conspirators.

Prosecutors say David used his Manhattan law office to seek legal status and labor permits for at least 25,000 clients, whom he charged as much as $30,000 apiece for the fraudulent applications.

David, 47, a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, was arrested in Canada on Oct. 11 last year when the indictment was unsealed. He was extradited on Tuesday and arraigned in Federal Court.

It is unclear, from the 21-page indictment, whether David actually is a rabbi. It states that he "headed and controlled a law office that operated at several different locations in Manhattan, and that used several different names, including the 'Law Offices of Earl David'. ... The David firm essentially ceased operations in or about January 2009, when federal search warrants were executed at several locations associated with the David firm," according to the indictment.

David operated a full-service firm, though the services were illegal, prosecutors said. He and his cohorts allegedly forged documents, including employment offers from "sponsors" on phony letterhead, with help from "corrupt accountants who created fake tax returns for fictitious sponsor companies," and from "a corrupt DOL [Department of Labor] employee."

All this "for substantial fees that clients paid, typically in cash, to the David firm - as much as $30,000 per client," according to the indictment.

David fled to Canada in 2006 after learning he was being investigated, but "continued to draw proceeds from the David firm" until at least 2009, prosecutors said. "Among other means, David's co-conspirators made payments to him from the David firm via accounts held in the name of 'Code of the Heart,' a book that David had authored."

The next hearing in his case was set for Jan. 30.

David is charged with conspiracy to commit immigration fraud, false statements to immigration authorities, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and conspiring to launder money.

If convicted on all four charges, he faces up to 50 years in prison.

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