FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
MARCH 24, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MCLEAN, VIRGINIA LAWYER AND FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA LAW FIRM
PLEAD GUILTY TO IMMIGRATION FRAUD
Law Firm Submitted Over 100 False Documents to
the Department of Labor and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service
BALTIMORE, Maryland - United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein announces that attorney Sergei Danilov, age 46, of McLean, Virginia, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit immigration fraud in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia during a three-year period. Danilov also entered a guilty plea to the same charge on behalf of the law firm he owns and manages, Sergei Danilov and Associates, LLC, of Falls Church, Virginia.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein stated, “Lawyers are supposed to help their clients comply with the law, but Mr. Danilov arranged for them to violate it.”
"Anyone who exploits the vulnerabilities of our immigration system is a serious threat to our nation's security," said Mark Bastan, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Baltimore Special Agent in Charge. "We will agressively pursue anyone who circumvents the legal procedures in place for hiring foreign workers."
Gordon S. Heddell, Inspector General, United States Department of Labor, stated: “Today’s guilty plea serves as a warning to those who would illegally misuse the foreign labor certification program. Allowing workers into this country under false pretenses and for personal gain corrupts a process designed to ensure the admission of foreign labor under very specific conditions. My office will continue to work with other law enforcement offices to uphold the integrity of the foreign labor certification program.”
According to the agreed statement of facts presented to the court at his plea yesterday, Danilov admitted that from March 2002 until May 2005 he and others at the law firm submitted fraudulent immigration documents to assist aliens in getting “green cards” through an employment-based visa program. The program permits an employer to sponsor an alien for employment in the United States if the employer has been unable to find qualified U.S. workers to fill the position. Danilov admitted that the Danilov law firm prepared and submitted to the Department of Labor and/or United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) more than 100 Applications for Alien Employment Certification and/or Immigrant Petitions for Alien Workers that contained material misrepresentations.
These misrepresentations included false assertions that certain sponsoring employers had authorized the law firm to file applications on behalf of certain aliens; false statements about purported offers of employment; false statements about the work experience of many of the alien applicants; and/or forged signatures of some of the sponsoring employers who purportedly agreed to hire the aliens.
While the law firm usually charged $3,000 to $6,000 to help an alien legitimately obtain a “green card,” the law firm charged substantially more to file a fraudulent application. Danilov admitted that the law firm filed fraudulent immigration documents on behalf of 12 businesses, most of whom were unaware that the law firm was using their companies to sponsor the firm’s alien clients.
Danilov admitted using John Sliva, a labor economist at the Washington, D.C. Department of Employment Services, to expedite the filing of fraudulent applications, a result which allowed Danilov to demand higher legal fees. In return for moving the applications ahead in the bureaucratic queue or backdating the filing dates on the applications, Danilov would buy Sliva meals and give him gifts, such as tickets to sporting events, clothes, a watch and a wallet with cash in it. On February 23, 2006, Sliva pleaded guilty to participating in the visa fraud conspiracy. No sentencing date has been scheduled.
As part of his plea agreement, Danilov agreed to two sentencing enhancements under the federal sentencing guidelines; one for having abused the public’s trust as a licensed attorney and, second, for having served as a manager and organizer of others involved in the conspiracy. Danilov also agreed to forfeit $200,000 to the government and to surrender his license to practice law. He faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for May 31, 2006 at 11:00 a.m.
One of Danilov’s former law partners, Irwin Jay Fredman, age 73, of Bethesda, Maryland, pleaded guilty on December 1, 2005, to his role in the conspiracy. Fredman also pleaded guilty on behalf of his Washington, D.C., law firm, the Law Offices of I. Jay Fredman, PC, to the same charge. No sentencing date has been scheduled. A paralegal for both law firms, Elnur Veliev, age 21, of Silver Spring, was also charged in the indictment and pleaded guilty to the same count on September 27, 2005. Another paralegal charged in the indictment, Alp Canseven, remains a fugitive.
United States Attorney Rosenstein commended the investigative work performed by the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Mr. Rosenstein also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Martin J. Clarke and Joyce K. McDonald, who are prosecuting the case.
This page last modifiedMarch 27, 2006