Fraud and Misuse of Visas, Permits, and other Documents
Legal Counsel for Immigration Fraud Criminal Charges
The effects of an immigration fraud conviction under 18 USC 1546 are permanent
and extremely serious. Once convicted, the offender is permanently barred
from receiving immigration benefits. Under
18 USC 1546, there are several types of
Document fraud or identity fraud refers to the making, sale or use of forged identity
documents like birth certificates, driver's licenses, passports, or
Social Security cards. It may also involve identity theft and any attempt
to procure genuine identity documents through illicit means.
Benefit fraud is the deliberate misrepresentation, distortion, or omission of facts
on an application to get an immigration benefit including legal residency
or a valid visa. Because thousands are looking for any means to freely
enter, work, or reside in the U.S., benefit fraud attracts schemers, middlemen,
and co-conspirators looking to profit from this crime.
Asylum fraud refers to those who seek refugee status by fraudulent means. Many fraudulent
asylum seekers portray themselves as victims of religious or political
persecution in their native countries.
Marriage Fraud refers to anyone who enters into a marriage under false pretenses for
the purpose of evading U.S. immigration law.
Consequences of Fraud
Aside from being barred from the country, there are other substantial consequences
for this type of crime. Anyone who, while under oath, makes false statements
or describes as true the false statements of an application, affidavit,
or other immigration document may be found guilty of perjury.
This carries a sentence of up to 5 years and fines.
General document and benefit fraud, including marriage fraud, is a felony
offense in the U.S. carrying a maximum prison sentence of five years on
the first offense and stiff fines of up to $250,000.
It is important to note that everyone, including U.S. citizens, can be
convicted under 18 USC 1546 for conspiring with, or aiding and abetting
an alien perpetrate the offense.
Extreme Hardship and Fraud Forgiveness
There have been many instances where a green card is sought via legitimate
means but access to legal status is denied due to prior document fraud
or conviction under 18 USC 1546. For a small minority, there are circumstances where a
waiver (or forgiveness) is available. In order to be eligible for fraud forgiveness,
the alien must meet certain requirements. First, the alien must have a
qualifying relative (spouse or parent) who is a U.S. Citizen or green
card holder. Moreover, the alien must prove that their spouse or parent
would face extreme hardship if the visa or green card was denied.
If you are planning to seek a legal status and submit an application with
USCIS, you must do so lawfully. There are many ways to protect yourself
from document fraud. Do not sign blank applications, petitions, or other
documents. If you cannot understand the text, terms, or conditions of
any document, do not sign it. Never sign anything that contains false
statements or erroneous information. Finally, be sure to get a receipt
whenever you make payments to a representative.
Hire an Immigration Lawyer
At the Law Offices of Simone Bertollini, I have assisted clients charged
in Federal Court with Visa misuse and other clients appealing a denial
of family-based immigrant petitions based on marriage fraud. As a
New Jersey Immigration Attorney, I can advise you on the best course of action to take to protect your
rights. I am admitted to the New Jersey as well as the New York Bar, the
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the Southern District
of New York, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuit.