Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of JENNIFER LAM, 39, for falsely representing herself as an attorney capable of filing green card applications. The defendant stole more than $14,000 from the victim, a Chinese national seeking permanent residency in the United States. LAM pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Unadmitted and Unregistered Practice as an Attorney, and is expected to be sentenced on June 13, 2012.
“This defendant took advantage of a Chinese national who sought help navigating our complex legal system,” said District Attorney Vance. “This case illustrates one of the most common immigration scams my Office encounters: unscrupulous individuals posing as attorneys or immigrant service providers. My Office’s Immigrant Affairs Program is committed to protecting our city’s diverse communities from these types of scams. I urge immigrants to be vigilant against such fraud, and to call our Immigrant Affairs Program Complaint Hotline at 212-335-3600 to report crime, regardless of immigration status.”
As admitted by the defendant and according to documents filed in court, in approximately August 2010, LAM falsely told a Chinese individual that she was an admitted and licensed attorney, and that she could file on his behalf a green card application to gain permanent residency. LAM told the victim to give her more than $14,000 in money orders for legal services and application filing fees, and to leave the money orders blank so that she can write out the checks to various agencies. LAM made the money orders out to herself and never filed any paperwork for the victim.
Assistant District Attorney Rosemary Yu, Co-Director of the Immigrant Affairs Program, handled the prosecution of this case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Thomas Wornom, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau. Investigator Keith Christensen and Immigration Officer Terry Shaw from the Citizenship & Immigration Services’ Office of Fraud Detection & National Security also assisted in the investigation.
JENNIFER LAM, D.O.B. 2/10/1973
• Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
• Unadmitted and Unregistered Practice as an Attorney, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count