NYC Immigration Fraud Lawyer
Trusted Immigration Fraud Lawyer In New York City
Immigration fraud is an umbrella term used to describe a wide variety of dishonest and fraudulent acts associated with the immigration process. These acts include lying on documents so as to permit entry in the United States, falsifying information or supporting documentation in connection with a change in status application filed with federal immigration authorities, entering into a fraudulent marriage with another person in order to assist in their entry or residence in the country or the most serious, harboring of an alien. While the ways in which one can run afoul of the criminal immigration laws are many, there is one thing each of these crimes have in common: the potential punishment for these felonies is quite significant. Whatever the form of immigration fraud that the government is investigating or has charged you with, the consequences should you be found guilty of violating these laws are devastating. Not only will you face a lengthy federal prison sentence, typically of up to ten years, but if not a citizen, you will almost certainly face removal proceedings forcing you to leave the U.S. and making it most difficult ever to return. That’s why it’s so critical to speak with an experienced NYC immigration fraud lawyer as soon as possible.If you are the target of a federal immigration fraud investigation or have been charged with immigration fraud, you will need a federal criminal defense lawyer skilled and adept at identifying the weaknesses or holes in the government’s theory of the case and exploiting those frailties to the client’s benefit. NYC immigration fraud lawyer Fred Sosinsky has been representing men and women accused of acts of immigration fraud for more than 30 years. Fred has the experience and know-how concerning the complex federal immigration laws to formulate a winning strategy in any immigration fraud case. For years, Fred has achieved favorable results for clients facing these charges. This requires being ever mindful of the collateral consequences that can ensue if such cases are not properly resolved. Contact Fred now to discuss how best to defend your immigration fraud charges.
What is Immigration Fraud?
There are a number of federal statutes that make it a crime to engage in acts related to the immigration process. One of the most frequently used by prosecutors pertains to fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents associated with immigration processing.
A person may be charged under this statute when he or she knowingly forges, counterfeits, alters or falsely makes any visa, permit, border crossing card, alien registration card or other immigration documents for entry into or as evidence of authorized stay or employment in the United States, or knowingly uses, possesses or receives any such fraudulent document for the purpose of entry into or as evidence of authorized stay or employment in the United States or knowing that such document was procured by means of a false claim or statement or otherwise procure by fraud or unlawfully obtained; or when applying for such documents, pretends to be another person or falsely appears in the name of a deceased person, or attempts to evade the immigration laws by appearing under an assumed name without disclosing his or her true identity, or sells any such document to another person; or knowingly makes under oath or penalty of perjury any false statement of material fact in connection with any application or affidavit or other document in connection with the immigration process.
A person may also be charged with immigration fraud in New York under this provision of law when he or she uses an identification document knowing or having reason to know that the document: was not issued lawfully for the use of the possessor, is false, or is a false attestation, for the purpose of demonstrating that a person is authorized to work in the United States.
With respect to immigration fraud premised upon allegations of marriage fraud, another federal statute applies. Under this provision of law, a person may be charged with improper entry by an alien, when he or she knowingly enters into a marriage for the sole purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws and regulations. Thus, where the government believes they can demonstrate that a non-citizen was married “for the purpose” of obtaining lawful permanent resident status rather than for reasons commonly accepted as grounds for marriage, one may be prosecuted for immigration fraud. Immigration investigators suspecting a non-bonafide marriage often require that couples claiming to be married provide documentary “proof” that the parties cohabit, are romantically involved, or show other indicia that their marriage is legitimate.
Under this same statute governing improper entry into the United States by an alien, a person may be charged with “immigration-related entrepreneurship fraud” when he or she knowingly establishes a commercial enterprise for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws.
One may be charged with another form of immigration fraud in New York when they knowingly and willfully fail to disclose or they conceal the fact that they have, for a fee or other payment, prepared or assisted in the preparation of an application to immigration authorities which is falsely made.
Significantly, in most cases where charges of immigration fraud are brought, the government will also charge additional crimes premised upon the manner in which the immigration fraud was committed such as conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, or making false statements. These separate crimes make the representation of those accused of immigration offenses a more complex matter. Luckily, an experienced NYC immigration fraud attorney will be able to help you navigate these legal waters and achieve the optimal outcome for your case.
Types of Federal Immigration Fraud
Some examples of conduct prosecuted under the umbrella of federal immigration fraud are as follows: lying on any immigration form or application; using a false identity or document on any immigration form; entering into a fraudulent marriage to benefit either oneself or the spouse; making false statements in connection with any application for a change in immigrant statuses such as a green card application, asylum petition, citizenship application or interview; using a fraudulent immigration document to gain authorization to work; fraudulently representing oneself as qualified to provide immigration-related services or legal advice to immigrants; fraud in connection with the so-called visa lottery system.
There Are Defenses to Immigration Fraud
There are a number of defenses that may be asserted to immigration fraud depending on the government’s theory of prosecution. They include:
First, it may be that for various reasons, the accused was not the person who prepared the immigration document at issue and was not aware that it contained false or misleading information. This may suggest a lack of knowledge or intent to defraud the defense. This is especially the case where a document or application was created or submitted in a foreign country.
Second, it may also be that the matter claimed to be false or fraudulent is factually correct. Provided that there is substantiation for this, a successful defense may be raised.
Third, in cases of claimed marriage fraud, you may be able to establish that for some period of time, the relationship between the parties was consistent with a genuine marriage relationship.
Sentencing for Immigration Fraud
For the most commonly invoked statute in prosecutions for immigration fraud, that governing fraud or misuse of visas, work permits, or other documents required by immigration laws or regulations, upon conviction a federal court may impose a sentence of up to ten (10) years in prison for most violations. If the immigration crime also involves drug trafficking, a conviction carries up to twenty (20) years in prison; if it involves an act of international terrorism, a conviction carries up to twenty-five (25) years in prison.
Marriage fraud is punishable by up to five (5) years in federal prison. The same is the case for immigration-related entrepreneur fraud.
Using or possessing a fraudulent document authorizing an alien to work in the United States is punishable by up to five years in federal prison.
Failing to disclose that you knowingly assisted in the preparation of a fraudulent immigration application of any kind is itself punishable by up to five years in federal prison.
While these are the maximum sentences that may be imposed for immigration fraud, the sentencing court will determine the actual sentence based upon consideration of a number of factors, including the recommended sentence according to the United States Sentencing Guidelines. After calculating the suggested guidelines sentence, the court will consider the personal history and background of the offender, read all letters submitted in support of the offender, and hear any other mitigating argument from defense counsel. A strong, persuasive NYC immigration fraud lawyer, Fred Sosinsky has been able to convince many federal judges to impose minimum sentences upon his clients.
Contact The Top NYC Immigration Fraud Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love is under investigation for or has been accused of committing immigration fraud, you can be sure that the federal government will use all of its power and resources to try to make these serious accusations stick. Your freedom and your ability to reside in the United States is on the line. Make sure that you have the best federal defense attorney that you can afford fighting for you in court. Give NYC immigration fraud lawyer Fred Sosinsky a call today and let him put his three decades of litigation experience and skills to work for you.