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Home Columns San Diego Happenings Another Top Immigration Lawyer Goes to Jail for Visa Fraud
Another Top Immigration Lawyer Goes to Jail for Visa Fraud PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 09:20

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Now they're three. First to be sentenced was Daniel E. Korenberg, 58, of Encino and Steven James Rodriguez, 42, of Thousand Oaks, name partner and senior associate, respectively, in the law firm previously known as Korenberg, Abramowitz & Feldun (KAF). On Monday (March 24), Philip Abramowitz, 54, of Agoura Hills, received his sentenced of 21 months in jail and $100,00 fine to be paid within seven days. The three lawyers pleaded guilty to charges ranging from visa fraud, to making false statements to conspiracy to commit visa fraud.

 

FIRST WAS KORENBERG & RODRIGUEZ 

Abramowitz, Another Top Lawyer in Big West-Coast Immigration Law Firm, Sentenced to 21 Months in Jail for Visa Fraud

 

By ROMEO P. MARQUEZ

 

The author is a member of the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA) and the National Press Club of the Philippines-USA.

Another founding partner in one of the largest law firms in the West Coast popular with Filipinos was sentenced in Los Angeles on Monday (March 24) in connection with false visa applications that also victimized some of its employees.

A justice department spokesman told the Philippine Village Voice that Philip Abramowitz, 54, of Agoura Hills, was sentenced to 21-months incarceration after pleading guilty to two counts of visa fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud.

The sentence will be served concurrently. In addition, Abramowitz was also fined $100,000 to be paid within seven days. The government forfeited approximately $650,000.

After his imprisonment, Abramowitz will be on supervised release for three years, with three months home detention/electronic monitoring, including mental-health and substance-abuse counseling.

The State Bar of California has listed Abramowitz as "not eligible to practice law" as of July 25, 2007, as related to case number 06-C-15537; and again as of September 28, 2007, as related to case number 07-Q-13768.

State bar records indicate that Abramowitz tendered his resignation from the Bar "with charges" on Sept. 28, 2007.

The judgment came within two weeks of the sentencing of Daniel E. Korenberg, 58, of Encino, a name partner and founder of the law firm previously known as Korenberg, Abramowitz & Feldun (KAF), and Steven James Rodriguez, 42, of Thousand Oaks, a senior associate at KAF.

Mr. Korenberg on March 10 was meted a 24-month sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty to two counts of visa fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud.

Mr. Rodriguez was sentenced to three-year probation with the condition that he serve six months of home detention with electronic monitoring and perform 200 hours of community service.

Los Angeles-based United States District Judge Percy Anderson handed the sentences.

The indictment said that from early 2000 to February 2003, the defendants filed fraudulent employment-based visa petitions on behalf of foreign nationals who sought temporary-work authorization or permanent residency in this country.

Messrs. Korenberg and Rodriguez were charged in a 33-count indictment handed down in February 2007 following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. Department of Labor - Office of Inspector General, and the California Employment Development Department.  

The indictment said that beginning in 2000 and continuing through at least February 2003, the defendants filed fraudulent employment-based visa petitions on behalf of foreign nationals seeking temporary-work authorization or permanent residency in the United States.

At least 19 of the aliens who benefited from the visa fraud scheme were KAF employees. KAF, which is now known as ASK Law Group, is based in the San Fernando Valley community of Sherman Oaks, and the firm maintains offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Las Vegas.

In San Diego, its downtown office is managed by Edwin Bael, a former consul general of the Philippines in Los Angeles. The law firm is quite popular with Filipinos.

Court papers detailed how KAF hired foreign nationals without work authorization for a variety of support positions, including paralegal jobs. The defendants then allegedly applied for fraudulent work visas for those employees and paid them “off the books” in cash until the visas were approved.

To support the visa petitions, Mr. Korenberg and others created documents making false claims about the aliens’ work experience and offers of employment, according to court filings.

Court papers said Mr. Korenberg and others made false statements to the U.S. government in connection with immigration and labor petitions filed on behalf of KAF employees. 

Mr. Rodriguez and others made false statements to the U.S. government in connection with immigration petitions filed on behalf of KAF clients.

The probe also targeted two Los Angeles-area employment agencies, Job Seekers International and Employmasters International. 

The investigation revealed that the employment agencies identified employers, both real and fictitious, to attest that the aliens seeking the work visas were being recruited for highly-skilled jobs that, in most instances, did not exist.

In 2005, the three owners of those employment agencies and one of their employees pleaded guilty to visa fraud and conspiracy charges. Those four defendants are awaiting sentencing.

The other defendants charged in the case are:

 1. Heidi Poepping, 45, of Moorpark, a paralegal at KAF, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit visa fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 21, 2008;

 2. Arturo Valencia, 56, of Walnut, the owner of Job Seekers International, pleaded guilty two years ago to one count of visa fraud and one count of conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12, 2008;

 3. Maria Theresa Resurreccion, 40, of Anaheim, an employee of Job Seekers International, pleaded guilty to one count of visa fraud and one count of conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 5, 2008;

  4. Arnel Dizon, 36, of Corona, a co-owner of Employmasters International, pleaded guilty to one count of visa fraud and one count of conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 28, 2008; and

 5. Marlyn Rodriguez Dizon (Arnel’s wife), 44, of Los Angeles, a co-owner of Employmasters International, pleaded guilty in May 2005 to one count of visa fraud and one count of conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 14, 2008. # # #

PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News
BREAKING NEWS -  Exclusive
Volume 2, Issue No. 8 / News Without Fear or Favor /

. . .  A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice (PhilVoiceNews@aol.com or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public . . . 





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Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2008 09:28
 

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