Attorney indicted for defrauding immigrants
NEW YORK (CMC):
A 51-year-old attorney has been indicted for defrauding at least 30 victims, many of them immigrants from the Caribbean, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr has said.
Vance said Owolabi Salis is charged with multiple counts of grand larceny in the third degree, attempted grand larceny in the third degree, scheme to defraud in the first degree, and falsifying business records in the first degree.
"The immigrants in this case wanted to do the right thing by hiring a licensed attorney to guide them and their families through various legal processes. Instead of providing them with honest representation and advice, the defendant took advantage of their trust and stole from them," he added.
James T. Hayes Jr, the special agent in charge of the United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), said committing a scheme to defraud immigrants is a "serious matter made all the more disturbing when it is committed by a licensed officer of the court whose job is to assist them.
"Lawyers and other service professionals who profit through fraud will not be tolerated, and HSI will aggressively investigate anyone seeking to exploit and compromise our nation's immigration system," he added.
United States Customs and Immigration Services New York District Director Phyllis Coven said her department "places a high priority on combating immigration services scams".