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Immigration attorney pleads guilty to filing more than 250 false visa applications

An immigration attorney in Indianapolis pleaded guilty Thursday to a fraud scheme during which he filed more than 250 false visa applications on behalf of purchasers, the Department of Justice stated.

Joel Paul, 45, an immigration attorney from Fishers, Indiana, entered a guilty plea ahead of U.S. District Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson of the Southern District of Indiana. Paul was once charged with mail fraud, immigration record fraud and annoyed identification robbery.

“Individuals who commit immigration fraud undermine and abuse our generous immigration system—a system that lawfully admits more immigrants than any other country in the world—and put our public safety and national security at risk,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated in a remark in regards to the case. 

Prosecutors stated Paul orchestrated a scheme to put up fraudulent applications for U-visas, reaping about $750,000 in fraudulent charges. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U-Visas supply brief immigration advantages to overseas nationals who’re sufferers of crimes.

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Paul admitted within the plea settlement that he submitted more than 250 fraudulent applications between 2013 and 2017, falsely claiming his purchasers have been sufferers of against the law and had helped regulation enforcement in a felony investigation.

He submitted “unauthorized copies” of a certification he received from the U.S. Attorney’s place of job in 2013, prosecutors added. The attorney charged his purchasers $three,000 in keeping with utility, they stated.

“President Trump promised voters he would return this country to a lawful system of immigration, and this Justice Department is committed to fulfilling that promise by rooting out fraud and abuse,” Sessions stated. “We will not tolerate fraud at any level, and will bring those who engage in fraud to justice.”

Paul shall be sentenced in early 2018, the dept stated.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this document.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.

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