Brooklyn Immigration Lawyer Charged with Visa Fraud

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Immigration fraud exposed
A criminal complaint unsealed on Thursday in Brooklyn federal court described how a Brooklyn immigration attorney and her paralegal assistant had filed false documents and lied to help clients obtain H-1B visas.

The attorney, Anna Tsirlina and her paralegal Aleksandr Shusterman have been arrested. A person named Andrei Kurakin was also arrested as he used to convince clients and refer them to Anna.

On Thursday, all three pleaded not guilty during their arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan Azrack. All three accused were released on bond.

H-1B visas used to hire temporary foreign workers have stringent requirements. Prospective employers need to file documents with related federal agencies furnishing all particulars including duration of employment, rate of pay, and the job role and function etcetera, for which a foreign national is being hired. Usually H-1B visas are issued for specialty occupation for which there is a shortage of skilled personnel within the country.

According to the complaint, at least eight cases of visa applications supported by false documents have been identified. However, the prosecutors said that hundreds of applications submitted by Tsirlina, since 2002, show signs of fraud.

According to prosecutors, the trio created and submitted fraudulent forms and documents showing non-existent job positions, and also in fake companies, to get visas for people who did not possess the skills for specialty occupations, or for the fake job positions described.

This year, the quota of H-1B visas have filled up with meteoric speed and the authorities are set on holding lotteries to decide whom to allow into the country. The Congress is also concerned with raising the H-1B quota in certain categories through immigration reform.

The case is U.S. v. Tsirlina, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, No. 13-341

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