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Press Release

Suspended Attorney Sentenced for Visa Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

NEW BERN, N.C. – A Wilmington woman was sentenced today by United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan to 12 months and one day and two years of supervised release for Fraud in Connection with Visas, Permits, and other Documents. 

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Roydera Hackworth, 63, was an attorney licensed to practice in North Carolina and in 2012 was suspended by the North Carolina State Bar (NCSB) from practicing law.  In 2014, the Board of Immigration Appeals suspended her from practicing in immigration matters before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (i.e., the Board of Immigration Appeals and the immigration courts) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In 2019, evidence based on information DHS Disciplinary Counsel discovered in USCIS records disclosed that Hackworth violated her suspension and continued to practice, prepare, and submit Form G-28s (Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative), petitions, and applications with USCIS on behalf of client petitioners and applicants for immigration benefits.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) reviewed documents and interviewed persons that Hackworth “represented” which revealed that Hackworth impersonated another licensed attorney, submitted various immigration related documents which she signed under penalty of perjury representing that she was the other attorney, and averred that she was not suspended and was in fact authorized to practice law.

The review by HSI and FDNS revealed that between 6 and 24 clients were represented by Hackworth with no knowledge that Hackworth was submitting their immigration petitions and application under the name of the other attorney.

The DHS Disciplinary Counsel said: “Hackworth’s disregard of the Board of Immigration Appeals suspension order caused harm to her clients and to the immigration system.  Her unscrupulous behavior required further action to protect the public and the immigration system. We are thankful the U.S. Attorney’s Office took the information we discovered and prosecuted Hackworth.”

Complaints regarding immigration attorneys appearing before DHS can be sent to or for attorneys appearing before the immigration courts or the Board of Immigration Appeals to

“Hackworth not only violated the oath of her profession and the laws of the US immigration system, but she also violated her client’s trust when she fraudulently represented them,” said Special Agent in Charge Ronnie Martinez, who oversees HSI operations in North Carolina and South Carolina. “Preventing the exploitation of people and protecting the integrity of the US immigration system are hallmarks of HSI’s mission.”

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement. HSI and USCIS FDNS conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sebastian Kielmanovich prosecuted the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 7:21-CR-93-FL.

Updated March 18, 2022