From a June 10, 2010 Department of Justicepress release:
David Lynn, 35, of Holland, PA, was sentenced today to 40 months in prison for leading an asylum fraud scheme that netted him and five co-defendants millions of dollars in illegal profits, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Lynn pleaded guilty, in October 2008, to one count of conspiracy, one count of visa/asylum fraud, one count of money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Lynn, who was charged with five co-defendants, ran a business that filed at least 380 bogus asylum applications for clients, between January 2003 and March 2007, charging an average of $8,000 for an application.
Investigators say Lynn posed as a lawyer. According to an ABC News report, "only a handful of Lynn's 380 clients from around the country made it through the system by claiming they would face oppression if they returned home." The majority of the aliens are in removal proceedings. Some have already left the country knowing they were going to be deported. According to another report, the perpetrators were Russian immigrants and most clients were from Russia, Ukraine, and Poland.
Unfortunately, it is a common pattern for unscrupulous immigrants to exploit their countrymen, who are naive about the American system and are ready to trust their own kind. What's most amazing to me is that a guy who lost the large majority of his cases and charged $8,000 per person--far more than most legitimate lawyers--seemed to maintain a booming business. It's a sad testament to the gullibility and desperation of the clients, some of whom may have lost out on bona fide claims. Other clients were likely complicit in the fraud, and it's harder to muster sympathy for them.
I believe the best way to stop fraud is to go after people like Mr. Lynn, who blatantly take advantage of a system that is designed to help the most vulnerable. By stopping Mr. Lynn, the DOJ has helped to preserve the integrity of the asylum process. Congratulations to those involved in the investigation, and keep up the good work.