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Press Release

Owner of Jay’s Immigration Consulting Practice, LLC sentenced to over 5 years in federal prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida

MIAMI – On May 31, Jephte Bernard, 70, of Margate, Florida, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Rodolfo A. Ruiz, after previously pleading guilty to mail fraud and making false statements. Bernard was sentenced for his massive and decades long immigration fraud scheme involving the fraudulent submission of asylum claims to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from Jay’s Immigration Consulting Practice, LLC offices in Sunrise, Orange Park, and Bradenton, Florida. Upon release from custody, Bernard must serve three years of supervised release and forfeit $3,932,460.00 in illegally obtained proceeds.

According to the court record, during the course of the fraud scheme, Bernard falsely portrayed himself as an attorney, pastor, Border Patrol Agent, and former employee and agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who advertised immigration-related services to aliens in the United States, family members and friends of aliens who were in the United States, and domestic family members and friends of aliens who were abroad, all of whom were in need of assistance for immigration-related matters before USCIS. Bernard targeted Spanish-speaking immigrants from Central and South America, as well as Haitian-creole speaking immigrants, by fraudulently representing himself as an attorney licensed to practice law in the United States and advertised his services and expertise in a number of ways, including through the use of business cards, print media, storefront decals, and word of mouth. Bernard gave false, inaccurate, and incomplete legal and immigration advice to client-victims in order to induce them to retain his services and those of Jay’s Immigration Services and prepared and filed various immigration applications and petitions, including Form I-589’s (Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal) which he knew contained false statements, including false biographical information, false residential addresses, and false preparer names, all without the victim applicant’s knowledge and consent. As a result of this fraudulent immigration scheme, Bernard defrauded over 1,000 vulnerable victims, and in the process, earned more than $3.9 million dollars in fraudulent proceeds.

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Division, and Miami Asylum Director Varsenik Papazian for USCIS announced the sentences imposed by Judge Ruiz.  

HSI Fort Lauderdale and USCIS Miami Asylum Office Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Anton prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Klco handled asset forfeiture.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on under case number 23-CR-60195.



Public Affairs Unit

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Southern District of Florida

Updated June 5, 2024

Financial Fraud