CEO Of Immigration Services Company Sentenced To 10 Months In Prison Following Trial Conviction For Immigration Fraud Offenses
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ULADZIMIR DANSKOI, the CEO of an immigration services firm, and JULIA GREENBERG, an immigration attorney, were found guilty yesterday in Manhattan federal court of conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to commit immigration fraud following a two-week trial before United States District Judge J. Paul Oetken.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Asylum is an incredibly important benefit designed to protect the world’s most vulnerable people. The defendants, a CEO of an immigration services firm with offices in both Manhattan and Brooklyn and a licensed attorney, exploited that system for financial gain by knowingly peddling false claims and coaching clients to lie under oath. Yesterday, a unanimous jury convicted them both for these crimes.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment and evidence presented at trial:
A New York City immigration services firm, “Russian America,” worked with clients – primarily aliens from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States – seeking visas, asylum, citizenship, and other forms of legal status in the United States. Among other things, Russian America advised certain of their clients in the manner in which they were most likely to obtain asylum in this country, fully understanding that those clients did not legitimately qualify for asylum. The firm also prepared and submitted to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) clients’ fraudulent asylum application documents and affidavits, often including fraudulent allegations of past persecution. Members and associates of the firm also coached certain clients to lie under oath during interviews conducted by USCIS Asylum Officers and provided legal representation to their clients during various immigration proceedings.
ULADZIMIR DANSKOI and previously convicted codefendant Yury Mosha operated and maintained Russian America’s Brooklyn and Manhattan offices, respectively. Each advised and aided their clients to seek asylum under fraudulent pretenses. Among other things, DANSKOI advised a client, a confidential FBI source (the “Source”), to seek asylum on the fraudulent basis that the client was persecuted in Ukraine for being a gay male, when in fact DANSKOI fully understood that the Source was a heterosexual male who suffered no such persecution. DANSKOI submitted the Source’s fraudulent asylum application and Affidavit, filed under penalty of perjury, to USCIS.
Meanwhile, Mosha encouraged a second client, a Government cooperator (the “Cooperator”), to establish and maintain online blogs that were critical of the client’s home country as a way to generate a false claim that, based on the client’s invented political opinion, it was unsafe for him to return to his native country. Mosha also personally prepared and submitted the Cooperator’s asylum application, Affidavit, and related paperwork under penalty of perjury, knowing that these documents contained material falsehoods.
When the Source and Cooperator needed to prepare for an interview, conducted under oath by a USCIS asylum officer, DANSKOI and Mosha connected each to JULIA GREENBERG, a New York immigration attorney, who coached both clients to lie to Asylum Officers and provided legal representation to these clients during immigration proceedings. For example, GREENBERG, understanding that the Source was a heterosexual male who did not suffer persecution in his home country, prepared the Source for questioning by an Asylum Officer, advised the Source how to falsely answer certain anticipated questions from the Asylum Officer, and instructed the Source to dress and change the Source’s appearance in a manner that comported with GREENBERG’s vision of a gay male.
DANSKOI and Mosha also agreed to help certain Russian America clients obtain employment visas by creating fake leases and staging offices to create the impression to USCIS that these clients had legitimate jobs waiting for them in the United States.
* * *
DANSKOI, 55, and GREENBERG, 42, each originally from Belarus and currently residing in Staten Island, New York, were convicted of one count of conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to commit immigration fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s New York Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, and USCIS’s New York Asylum Office and Fraud Detection and National Security Unit. Mr. Williams also thanked United States Customs and Border Protection for its assistance.
This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David R. Felton and Jonathan E. Rebold are in charge of the prosecution.