New York lawyer charged with running immigration fraud mill

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 11, 2011 10:28 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York attorney was arrested in Canada on Tuesday on charges that he ran an "immigration fraud mill" that filed tens of thousands of bogus U.S. immigration applications, U.S. prosecutors said.

Earl Seth David was accused of running a scheme in which his Manhattan law practice submitted at least 25,000 immigration applications over nearly 15 years, based mainly on fake claims that U.S. companies had sponsored immigrants for employment, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

The David Firm charged up to $30,000 per client and netted millions of dollars, prosecutors said.

Representatives of David, also known as "Rabbi Avraham David," could not be reached for comment on Tuesday evening.

David, 47, was one of 12 people whose indictments in connection with the scheme were unsealed on Tuesday. David continued to run the scheme even after being suspended from practicing law in New York in 2004, Bharara's office said. He fled to Canada in 2006 and is now awaiting extradition.

Those charged include employees of David's law offices who created documents to support the immigration applications; accountants who created fake tax returns for fictitious sponsor companies; and a Labor Department employee who assisted in the scheme, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

All of the defendants were indicted on several charges, including conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

(Reporting by Noeleen Walder; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)