Thursday, June 15, 2006
Virginia lawyer Sergei Danilov and his firm (Danilov and Associates, LLC) were sentenced for immigration fraud in connection with the foreign labor certification program. Danilov received a 46-month prison term, and the firm must forfeit $200,000. According to the press blog for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland (here):
Danilov admitted that from March 2002 until May 2005 he and others at the law firm submitted fraudulent immigration documents to assist aliens in getting “green cards” through an employment-based visa program. The program permits an employer to sponsor an alien for employment in the United States if the employer has been unable to find qualified U.S. workers to fill the position. Danilov admitted that the Danilov law firm prepared and submitted to the Department of Labor and/or United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) more than 100 Applications for Alien Employment Certification and/or Immigrant Petitions for Alien Workers that contained material misrepresentations. These misrepresentations included false assertions that certain sponsoring employers had authorized the law firm to file applications on behalf of certain aliens; false statements about purported offers of employment; false statements about the work experience of many of the alien applicants; and/or forged signatures of some of the sponsoring employers who purportedly agreed to hire the aliens.
In order to speed up his clients' applications, Danilov plied an employee of the Washington, D.C. Department of Employment Services with meals, sporting event tickets, and a wallet full of cash to move applications to the top of the stack or backdate documents to push them through the system more quickly. The employee, along with one of Danilov's partners and a paralegal, earlier entered guilty pleas. Almost four years in prison is a long time for charging clients a few extra thousand, raising once again the question of why people would risk their law licenses (and careers) for a comparatively small amount of money. (ph)