On May 8 2017, it was reported that two Florida citizens, Rosa Cingari, 68 and Domenico Cingari, also 68, were sentenced to 12 years and 7 months and 8 years and 1 month in Federal prison respectively, for conspiracy, making false statements in immigration applications and petitions and mail fraud. In addition, the Court ordered forfeiture of the real property used to facilitate the offenses and entered money judgment against the couple in respect of the proceeds of criminal conduct, in the sum of $740,880.

Trial

The couple were found guilty of the aforementioned offenses by a federal jury in Florida on November 9, 2016.

At trial, evidence was adduced that Rosa and Domenico Cingari owned and operated R.E.P.C. Accounting and Translations out of their home in Lakeland, Florida. They assisted undocumented illegal aliens to obtain Florida driver licenses, by filing fraudulent immigration documents, including Petitions for Alien Relatives and Work Authorization forms. The Court heard that the overwhelming majority of applications and petitions filed at the USCIS by the couple contained materially false information.

Alarmingly, the Cingaris charged clients between $500 to $1,300 for their services. In total, it is estimated that their firm’s fraudulent practices generated a revenue of at least $740,880.

The USCIS Response  

Speaking after the trial, Katherine Baranowski, USCIS Tampa Acting District Director, reiterated that the USCIS is committed to maintaining the integrity of the U.S immigration system and has a “zero tolerance” approach to fraud.

The case serves as a timely reminder for those considering immigration fraud that perpetrators can and will be prosecuted and, further, the penalties for immigration fraud are great. Members of the public requiring legal advice regarding U.S immigration issues would be well-advised to consult reputable, licensed immigration attorneys only.

Davies Legal

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Published: 20th May 2017