LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that PETER ABSOLAM,
a/k/a “Lloyd,” 59, was found guilty today by a jury in Manhattan
federal court in connection with a sham marriage scheme that
netted the participants more than one million dollars. According
to the Indictment, other documents filed in this case, and the
evidence at trial:
ABSOLAM referred potential clients to Help Preparers
Professional Services (“HPPS”), a Queens business, that purported
to offer its customers assistance in a variety of financial and
legal matters. In fact, the primary business at HPPS was
fraudulently procuring permanent resident documents, or “green
cards,” from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“CIS”),
formerly known as the United States Immigration and
Naturalization Service (“INS”), in exchange for fees ranging from
$8,000 to $16,000.
The owner-operator of HPPS, BEVERLY MOZERBROWNE
conspired with various others, including her brother,
PHILLIP A. BROWNE, then employed by CIS as a District
Adjudication Officer, who then approved the applications without
requiring the applicants to appear for interviews. From
approximately April 2001 through November 2005, the conspirators
fraudulently procured hundreds of green cards from CIS, reaping
fees totaling more than $1 million.
ABSOLAM introduced a specific potential client to HPPS
in May 2005. The potential client was, in fact, a concerned
individual in the community who had come across the scheme,
reported it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and
Department of Homeland Security’s United States Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and agreed to work undercover. The
fraudulent scheme came to light through the efforts of this
concerned individual. The evidence against ABSOLAM included
audio recordings of conversations and meetings during which
ABSOLAM discussed the fraudulent green card scheme.
ABSOLAM, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit visa
fraud, faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a
maximum fine of the greater of $250,000, or twice the gross gain
or gross loss from the offense. ABSOLAM is scheduled to be
sentenced by United States District Judge LAWRENCE M. McKENNA on
December 3, 2007.
Twenty-nine other defendants have been charged in this
case, and twenty-six have pleaded guilty. Charges against the
remaining defendants, including BEVERLY MOZER-BROWNE and PHILLIP
BROWNE, remain pending; as to those defendants, the charges in
the Indictment are merely allegations and the defendants are
presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative work of the FBI and
ICE, as well as the work of the Office of the Inspector General
and the Office of Professional Responsibility of the Department
of Homeland Security.
Assistant United States Attorneys CHRISTINE Y. WONG and
MICHAEL A. LEVY are in charge of the prosecution.