On Thursday, it was announced that an Indianapolis, Indiana attorney had pleaded guilty to defrauding United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as well as 250 of his clients. 45-year-old Joel Paul of Fishers, Indiana was accused of filing false visa applications and acquiring roughly $750,000 in fraudulent fees. The defendant pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson.
He was charged with one count of mail fraud, immigration document fraud, and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to submit fraudulent U-visa applications. The defendant is now scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Magnus-Stinson in early 2018. According to the plea agreement, Paul admitted to submitting more than 250 false Applications for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant from 2013 to 2017.
He submitted the applications on behalf of his clients without their knowledge. The applications falsely claimed that Paul’s clients had been victims of crime and had provided assistance to law enforcement in investigating the crime. Paul submitted unauthorized copies of a certification he acquired from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana in 2013. The certification was used to falsely claim that the client had provided law enforcement with substantial assistance in a criminal prosecution.
Paul charged his clients roughly $3,000 per application. Again, Joel Paul has pleaded guilty to the charges. He will be sentenced in early 2018. Additional details can be found here.