A jury trial in Manhattan has found lawyers guilty of assisting clients from China to obtain asylum status in the US after fabricating stories of persecution.
In a press release from Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, he announced that FENG LING LIU, VANESSA BANDRICH, and RUI YANG, were found guilty yesterday in Manhattan federal court of one count of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud.
LIU, BANDRICH, and YANG, who were initially charged in December 2012, were convicted following a nineteen-day jury trial presided over by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As the jury found, Feng Ling Liu, Vanessa Bandrich, and Rui Yang assisted immigrants in obtaining asylum status under false pretenses, including by using concocted tales of persecution. These defendants will now join the twenty-seven others who have been convicted in connection with this sprawling immigration fraud scheme.”
According to the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, public court filings, and the evidence admitted at trial:
LIU, a lawyer, operated two law firms – the Law Offices of Feng Ling Liu and Moslemi and Associates, Inc. – both of which assisted aliens from China in obtaining asylum status through fraud. LIU and her employees profited by creating and submitting asylum applications containing false stories of persecution purportedly suffered by alien applicants.
BANDRICH worked as a lawyer at one of LIU’s firms, Moslemi and Associates, Inc. In that capacity, she prepared certain clients to tell false stories of persecution in immigration court proceedings related to their asylum application. BANDRICH also opened a separate law firm, Bandrich and Associates, Inc., (“Bandrich Firm”) that assisted clients in obtaining asylum status through fraud. YANG was an office worker at the Bandrich Firm and helped the firm’s clients prepare their false asylum applications.
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The defendants each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the count of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud. LIU, 48, of Manhattan, New York, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Abrams on July 25, 2014. BANDRICH, 34, of Manhattan, New York, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Abrams on July 31, 2014. YANG, 30, of Flushing, New York, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Abrams on August 1, 2014. The maximum
potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebecca Mermelstein, Robert Boone and Patrick Egan are in charge of the prosecution.