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NYC Immigration Fraud Lawyers

Joseph Potashnik & Associates PC is a NYC based, immigration fraud law firm – that helps clients all over the country. We have over 75 years of combined experience, handling immigration fraud cases. Though our immigration fraud lawyers are based out of NYC – for years, we have been helping clients all over the USA, and even when they are in other countries. Get a consultation today, and understand what are your options – when faced with immigration fraud.
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Our firm focuses on educating our clients about their present situation, and the potential outcome they can expect.
Here are some of the more commonly asked questions.

Obtaining lawful permanent residence through marriage is a well-known immigration path. Due to its popularity, there is a great deal of marriage fraud to obtain an immigration benefit. There are several times of marriage fraud. Some scenarios include:
1. U.S. citizen paid or asked to marry a foreign national.
2. A “mail-order” marriage where the U.S. citizen of the foreign national knows it is fraud.
3. A foreign national defrauds the U.S. citizen into marriage, where the U.S. citizen believes the marriage is legitimate.
There are dedicated units within the fraud detection unit of USCIS that investigates marriage fraud. USCIS investigators have broad powers in discovering and investigating possible marriage fraud.

Marriage fraud, or a sham marriage is one where the parties marry in order to obtain an immigration benefit by getting around U.S. immigration laws. To obtain lawful permanent residence in the U.S. through marriage, a couple must show that they entered into the marriage with good faith. A good faith marriage means that the two people are joined to establish a life together, they have embarked on a real marriage ceremony with the proper governmental stamp. It is also important to note that the discovery of marriage fraud can happen at any time. Investigators may review and investigate your marriage at the 2-years mark when the couple applies to remove the conditional green card to a permanent green card. Investigators may review your application again, if you plan to naturalize from the green card to citizenship.

If the marriage is under suspect, the couple will be called in for a STOKES interview. To investigate the couple, the USCIS investigator may follow a couple around, investigate the couple’s home, interview the couple’s neighbor’s, work associates, and friends. If you are called for a STOKES interview, you will be notified through the mail. Once you’ve been notified, it is a good time to call a lawyer. At the STOKES interview, the USCIS investigator may separate the couple. The investigator will ask each spouse questions about the other. The investigator will analyze your answers and see if they match. The investigator may also ask questions about your marriage, your family plans, your wedding, etc. Essentially, there are no limits to the questions the investigator may ask.

If you’ve been found guilty marriage fraud, the immigrant spouse would most likely be deported from the U.S. The charge of fraud will also bar the individual’s likelihood of future immigration remedies with the U.S. The criminal implications under section 275(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A), of marriage fraud can also be imprisonment for not more than five years or a $250,000 fine, or both. If the petitioning spouse is not a U.S. citizen, but just a green card holder with lawful permanent status, the petitioning spouse may also be placed in removal proceedings for deportation.

Due to the increasing numbers of immigration fraud Homeland Security Investigations has created a new department with a specialized task force dedicated to investigating possible fraud. The Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF) in a partnership of federal and state law enforcement tasked with investigating fraud crimes.

If you find yourself under investigation, it is vitally important to seek the advice of an immigration attorney.

One of the most commonly prosecuted types of immigration fraud in the United States is visa and passport fraud. These crimes are usually investigated by the State Department Diplomatic Security, ICE, and the FBI. These agencies are responsible for the vast majority of criminal investigations related to passport fraud, visa fraud, and various immigration documents fraud cases.

US Passport Fraud
Let’s talk about passport fraud, which is a commonly investigated offense. US passport is a travel document issued by the U.S. Department of State. Only U.S. citizens can have US passports and they are used for international travel. It is also one of the main identification documents to establish the US citizen’s identity both inside and outside the United States. Any method of obtaining the US passport fraudulently, or conspiring to obtain a US passport by fraudulent means is a crime. Here are the ways passport fraud can be committed.
• Using the identity of someone who has died in order to apply for a passport.
• Applying for a passport using false documents such as fraudulently obtained birth certificates.
• Using stolen and altered passports
• Using someone else’s passport for conceal identity to commit a crime
• Using someone else’s passport for illegal entry into the US or in order to avoid deportation.

There are several federal criminal statutes that apply to passport fraud:
• 18 USC 1541 Issuance Without Authority
• 18 USC 1542 False Statement in Application and Use of Passport
• 18 USC 1543 Forgery or False Use of Passport
• 18 USC 1544 Misuse of Passport
• 18 USC 1546 Fraud and Misuse of Visas, Permits, and Other Documents
• 18 USC 371 Conspiracy to Commit Offense or to Defraud the United States
• 18 USC 911 False Claim to Citizenship
• 18 USC 1028 Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Identification Documents and Information
• 18 USC 1028A Aggravated Identity Theft

US Visa Fraud
Visa fraud is another common type of immigration fraud. There are
Immigrant visas for those who move to the United States permanently and Nonimmigrant visas for those who come to America temporarily (tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, or study). Visa fraud can be committed in the following ways:
• Using fake documents to apply for a visa
• Not disclosing the facts that would make one ineligible for a visa
• Selling, trafficking, or transferring visas
• Lying about the real purpose for obtaining a visa
• Forgery of a visa
• Smuggling aliens into the United States
• Using a visa to commit some crimes such as drug trafficking and terrorism
• Helping others to illegally stay in the United States.

There are several federal criminal statutes, which address visa fraud. These are:
• 18 USC 1546 Fraud and Misuse of Visas, Permits, and Other Documents
• 18 USC 1001 False Statements or Entries Generally
• 18 USC 1028 Fraud in Connection with Identification Documents
• 18 USC 201 Bribery of Public Officials
• 18 USC 371 Conspiracy to Commit Offense or to Defraud the United States

Immigration criminal attorneys of Joseph Potashnik and Associates provide first class representation to clients accused of all types of immigration offenses in federal courts. Call us today at 212-577-6677 to see what we can do for you.

The United States has treaties with many countries which provide for the international transfer of prisoners. If you are a citizen of a country that has such a treaty, and you are serving time in a U.S. prison, you may be eligible for transfer to your home country for the remainder of your sentence.

Applications for transfer must be approved both by the state where you are incarcerated and by the U.S. Department of Justice. Then the application is forwarded to the your home country, which will decide if it wants to receive you.

The primary reason that international prisoner transfer treaties exist is that, in many cases, the prisoner has a better chance of rehabilitation and reintegration into society in his or her home country. Because of this, many factors that go into determining prisoners' eligibility for transfer have to do with the chances that transfer will help their rehabilitation.

One factor the government considers when evaluating a prisoner's transfer application, is acceptance of responsibility, which can be shown through cooperating with authorities, being honest about one's participation in the crime, and, sometimes, entering a guilty plea.

Another factor is the prisoner's criminal history. The government wants to evaluate the likelihood that the prisoner will commit other crimes. A first-time, low-level offender is viewed very differently from a mafia boss. The government will also likely fail to approve a transfer application if the prisoner has criminal connections in his home country -- sending him back will only help him commit more crimes, instead of rehabilitating him.

The seriousness of the offense is also taken into consideration, as well as the chances of the prisoner serving a shorter or easier sentence in the receiving country.

The government also looks at the prisoner's family ties. If the prisoner has close family in the receiving country, this could help his rehabilitation; on the other hand, if his close family is in the U.S., it is likely that he will return there once his sentence is served, so a transfer makes no sense.

Sometimes, an otherwise ineligible prisoner may be approved for transfer due to humanitarian reasons, such as terminal illness of the prisoner or a close family member.

International prison exchanges require a thorough understanding of the policies adopted by various United States agencies and the interactions between these agencies. The United States Department of Justice and the State Department are certainly amongs the prime decision makers in this area. Generally speaking, in the United States there is a presumption against granting the prisoner exchanges as it is believed that the person should be serving time where the criminal offense took place. Although not an easy task, it is certainly achievable when the attorney handling the request has the necessary experience and knowledge if the process. At our office you will find such attorneys. We have successfully handled similar matters before. To learn more about how Joseph Potashnik & Associates PC can address your questions about international prisoner transfer, call us at (212) 577-6677.