MANHATTAN (CN) - Federal prosecutors say a suspended attorney known as Rabbi Avrahom David ran "a massive immigration fraud mill through a Manhattan-based law practice," which applied for legal status for at least 25,000 undocumented aliens, "based on phony claims that U.S. employers had 'sponsored' those aliens for employment in the United States."
The superseding indictment charges Earl Seth David aka Rabbi Avrahom David and 11 other people with running the scam through David's law office, since 1996.
Prosecutors also spell David's rabbinical name "Avraham."
David, an attorney whose license was suspended in 2004, fled to Toronto in 2006, and was arrested there Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
But "illicit profits from the scheme continued to be funneled to him in Canada, including through a bank account in the name of a biblical treatise he had authored entitled 'Code of the Heart,'" prosecutors said in a statement. David's law offices shut down in early 2009 after federal agents raided them.
Nowhere in the 21-page indictment or the 6-page press statement is it made clear whether David actually is a rabbi, though he actually is, or was, an attorney.
Prosecutors say 27 people have been charged in the scheme.
David is accused of taking "millions of dollars" from his clients, to get them legal status based upon phony claims.
He charged as much as $30,000 a pop, "and obtained thousands of DOL [Department of Labor] certifications based upon phony employment sponsorships and fabricated documents, including fake pay stubs, fake tax returns, and fake 'experience letters,' purporting to show that the sponsorships were real and that the aliens possessed special employment skill sets justifying labor-based certification by DOL," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in the statement announcing David's arrest. "In reality, the sponsors had no intention of hiring the aliens, and the sponsor companies often did not even exist other than as shell companies for use in the fraudulent scheme.
"As a result of the fraud, DOL issued thousands of certifications, and immigration authorities granted legal status to thousands of the David Firm's clients, when such adjustments were unwarranted and otherwise would not have been made. To date, the government has identified at least 25,000 immigration applications submitted by the David Firm - the vast majority of which have been determined to contain false, fraudulent, and fictitious information."
David's alleged cohorts face up to 35 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud, immigration fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. David could get 55 years in stir if convicted of those charges plus money laundering.
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