An immigration lawyer in New York has been taken into custody for defrauding immigrants such as Caribbean nationals, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 40-year-old Gnoleba Seri from Brooklyn was charged with aggravated identity theft and immigration fraud, USCIS revealed on Friday.
“Gnoleba Seri allegedly used his legal knowledge to circumvent the law and forge documents that are critical to obtaining an immigrant visa,” says the Southern District of New York’s United States Attorney, Preet Bharara. “The strength of the United States’ immigration system rests on the integrity of its process, and this office and our law enforcement partners will hold accountable those who undermine that process.”
Glenn Sorge, the Acting Special-Agent-in-Charge of the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) at the New York Office, said that Seri committed identity theft and fraud by abusing the trust afforded to him by his position as an immigration attorney. Sorge noted that when immigration documents are falsified, the system is not only seriously undermined but also the security of the United States as a whole is compromised. “HSI is committed to working with its law enforcement partners to ensure fraudsters are identified and brought to justice,” he said.
Seri, who works in Brooklyn and Manhattan, is alleged to have taken personal details from genuine immigration documents to use for the purpose of fraud, in addition to submitting forged and falsified documents to help to increase his clients’ chances of receiving US visas.