November 13, 2014

Lawyer Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to Five Years in Prison in Connection with Leadership of Asylum Fraud Ring

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that FENG LING LIU, a/k/a Karen, the attorney and owner of law firms in the Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to five years in prison for her leadership of an immigration fraud conspiracy. Following a four-week trial in March and April 2014, a jury convicted LIU of participating in a conspiracy to commit immigration fraud between approximately 2007 and approximately 2012. LIU was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Ronnie Abrams.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “I would like to thank our law enforcement partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for their hard work on this case.”

According to the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, public court filings, and the evidence admitted at trial:

LIU, a lawyer, operated two law firms—the Law Offices of Feng Ling Liu and Moslemi and Associates, Inc.—both of which assisted aliens from China in obtaining asylum status through fraud. LIU and her employees profited by creating and submitting asylum applications containing false stories of persecution purportedly suffered by alien applicants. LIU and her employees coached applicants to lie to immigration authorities and assisted applicants in obtaining and/or creating false documentation to support the fraudulent claims. In total, the two law firms filed thousands of fraudulent applications and earned tens of millions of dollars from their fraud.

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In addition to the prison term, LIU, 48, of New York, New York, was ordered to pay a $12,500 fine and a $100 special assessment fee, and to forfeit $7,245,000.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and thanked the New York Asylum Office of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebecca Mermelstein, Patrick Egan, and Robert Boone are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Adams is in charge of the forfeiture.