News and Press Releases

Lawyer Sentenced to Five Years and Former Assistant Sentenced to Eighteen Months for Preparing Fraudulent Alien Legalization Applications

October 21, 2010

Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced that Thomas Archer, a lawyer based in Coram, New York, and his former assistant, Rukhsana Rafique, were sentenced to five years’ and eighteen months’ incarceration, respectively, on their convictions for visa fraud and conspiracy, and were ordered to pay a total of $309,500 in restitution to 234 of their former clients. The sentencing proceedings were held yesterday and today before United States District Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr., at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York

On March 24, 2010, following a five-day trial, a federal jury convicted the defendants of all charges. The government’s evidence established that between 2004 and 2005, Archer submitted false legalization applications on behalf of more than 230 illegal immigrants to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The defendants charged each client between $1,500 and $2,500 for their services, yet not a single application filed by the defendants was granted. At trial, four of Archer’s former clients, natives of Pakistan and Guyana, testified that they did not meet the requirements for the legalization program, but that Rafique nonetheless prepared application forms for them. Rafique also directed the clients to obtain signatures on fraudulent affidavits, which Archer submitted to the Department of Homeland Security in support of the fraudulent applications. When the Department of Homeland Security invited the clients to attend interviews to discuss their applications, Archer and Rafique directed their clients not to attend and withdrew their applications.

In announcing the sentences, United States Attorney Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for their investigative work and assistance during the investigation and trial.

The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew E. Goldsmith and Soumya Dayananda.

The Defendants:

Age: 54

RUKHSANA RAFIQUE, also known as “Rukhsana Rukhsana”
Age: 46

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