Whoa: New York Immigration Attorney Caught Running an Asylum Fraud Scheme

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Posted: Nov 26, 2018 6:55 PM
Whoa: New York Immigration Attorney Caught Running an Asylum Fraud Scheme

A 43-year-old immigration attorney from Queens, New York was found guilty of asylum fraud, making false statements to immigration authorities and aggravated identity theft in a federal court on Nov. 19.

An investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Andreea Dumitru Parcalaboiu operated a scheme to submit fraudulent asylum forms. She knowingly submitted more than 180 applications in which she lied about the applicants’ personal narratives of alleged persecution, criminal and travel histories. Parcalaboiu deliberately fabricated detailed personal stories of purported mistreatment of her clients, forged her clients’ signatures and falsely notarized affidavits.

"Andreea Dumitru, an immigration attorney, scammed the asylum program, which was designed to provide safe harbor for the world’s most vulnerable people. She will now serve time in prison for her crimes," Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

Parcalaboiu ran the scheme between 2013 and 2017. She was convicted of one count of asylum fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; one count of making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison. 

According to one ICE agent, Parcalaboiu's scheme took time away from those who were truly seeking asylum. 

“Dumitru is alleged to have used her trusted position to defraud the government, submitting fraudulent documents to claim asylum,” said Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez, according to a QNS report. “Her alleged actions took up time and resources while those with valid asylum claims waited in line. Now, Dumitru will enter a courtroom as a defendant to face the consequences for her alleged actions.”

Parcalaboiu was previously arrested for failing to pay $5 million in Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) taxes.