Local Immigration Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Identity Theft
DALLAS — Sherin Thawer, a Dallas attorney, appeared in federal court this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma C. Ramirez and pleaded guilty to a federal felony offense stemming from her work in representing aliens, that is, non-U.S. citizens, before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS), announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Thawer, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft, and she faces a mandatory penalty of two years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. She was initially on pre-trial release following her arrest on an indictment in February 2015; however, she has been in custody since June 15, 2015, when the Court revoked her pre-trial release after finding she violated its conditions by continuing to practice immigration law. A sentencing date has not been set.
According to documents filed in the case, Thawer represented aliens before USCIS when they were applying for various types of visas to enter or remain in the U.S., including through a U Nonimmigrant Status or U-Visa. To be eligible for a U-Visa, the alien must have been a victim of a certain crime, suffered mental or physical abuse because of the crime, and helped law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime. In addition to the U-Visa application, applicants must submit a Law Enforcement Certification form completed and signed by the certifying official for the law enforcement agency that investigated and/or prosecuted the crime for which the alien was a victim.
On approximately March 21, 2012, Thawer, without authority, knowingly used the name and badge number of a specific police officer to complete the Law Enforcement Certification form that was submitted with a U-Visa application. She knew the officer had not completed the form and that his signature on the form was forged.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Irving Police Department, and USCIS investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Gividen and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Wiley are prosecuting.
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