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Immigration attorney arrested for visa fraud

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A Brooklyn immigration attorney and her paralegal are in trouble with federal prosecutors for allegedly lying on applications to help foreign nationals receive temporary U.S. work visas.

Background

Prosecutors allege that between 2005 and 2012, Anna Tsirlina and her paralegal, Aleksandr Shusterman, both filed false documents to help clients receive H1-B visas. According to a criminal complaint unsealed last Thursday, the prosecutors allege that clients paid Tsirlina thousands of dollars over the past few years for work to acquire these fraudulent visas. A third individual, Andrew Kurakin, who referred clients to Tsirlina, was also arrested for his involvement. The complaint accused all three defendants of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. as well as visa fraud. The three pleaded not guilty during an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan Azrack and were released on bond. Attorneys for the three individuals could not be reached for comment or declined to comment.

Process for obtaining an H-1B visa

In order to obtain an H-1B visa, a U.S. employer must file documents with federal agencies describing the type of job the immigrants will be hired for, the rate of pay and the duration of employment. Tsirlina submitted many fraudulent forms and documents describing fake job openings for fake companies. An example included a “bilingual translator” or “software engineer” in order to help clients obtain visas they were clearly not skilled for. The complaint sites at least eight falsified visa applications but immigration officials believe Tsirlina may have submitted hundreds of applications which show “clear signs of fraud” since 2002.

Picking a reputable and thorough attorney can be tricky.  Some attorneys dabble in immigration and may not be up to date on the current state of the law.  If you have questions regarding how to hire an immigration attorney, or even whether you need an attorney, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.

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