The arrest of disbarred attorney Carlos Moreno has brought to light a 10 year green card scam. Moreno is accused of helping immigrants fraudulently file for asylums in the United States and billing victims out of $140,000. In this video, Yakov takes a closer look at the scam and what it could mean for those affected.
Michael Levitis 00:05
Good day, everybody. It’s Michael Levitis from JurisQ.com, a legal network where we bring you attorneys to discuss the news in the legal arena and frequently asked legal questions. Today we brought back Yakov Spector. Yakov, welcome back.
Yakov Spektor 00:23
Hi, Michael. Hi, everyone.
Michael Levitis 00:25
The reason why I brought you back is because I saw the news, a story where a former attorney got arrested for immigration scam. Allegedly, a lot of people got hurt because they lost their money, there are victims. Immigrants who spent money, essentially for nothing, and we want to do a public service here. We want to discuss what was done allegedly by this attorney, or former attorney, and what you can do to protect yourself from such unscrupulous people. Okay, so let’s just give some background on this case. The former attorney, his name is Carlos Moreno, and now he’s actually a professor at some CUNY School. But apart from being a professor, allegedly, he was doing something nefarious, for which he was sentenced to three years in prison in the first week of August. Now, New York Post article says he collected more than $140,000 from clients, even after he was disbarred for something else years ago. What he did is something called a 10 year green card scam. Yakov, can you tell us what is a 10 year green card scam?
Yakov Spektor 01:44
I can, and I will. I tell you about that particular scam, one thing that I want you to know if you’re in the market for a lawyer, any lawyer, especially an immigration lawyer, which probably means that you’re an immigrant, you don’t know how things might work in a new country. And, you know, you’re dealing with someone who, who is already dealing with an area of law, which is super complex. Okay. So, you know, you basically go and trust, it’s, it’s super important to do research. You know, if you look at, at the lawyer who got arrested, and professor and CUNY, you know, he wasn’t arrested, by the way because he was a professor in CUNY, you know, it’s not a crime just yet, but it’s, but what the thing things that he was doing the 10 year green card scam, as newspapers called, right. You know, I’ll tell you this, it’s, it’s essentially, it’s 50%. Legal, it’s not a scam,
Michael Levitis 02:52
It’s almost legal, like almost pregarnt?
Yakov Spektor 02:55
Well, you cannot be almost pregnant, but you could file immigration paperwork, and paperwork, that paperwork, just, you know, based on the things that you say, would either be considered completely legitimate or completely fraudulent. Okay. And so, now, without sort of further ado, let me let me explain to you what, what he what he was doing. So he now so the reason why it’s called a 10 year green card scam, is because there is this obscure section in the law that says that, if you’ve been here, without any status for 10 years, lived here for 10 years, being a good person, no criminal record, have some relatives who might be US citizens or permanent residents. You might be able, you know, to ask for a green card. But there’s a catch, the only way how you can do that. You have to ask for the for the green card from the immigration judge. And that means that you have to be, essentially in immigration court in deportation proceedings. That means that you have to sort of put yourself in deportation proceedings, you know, and then ask a immigration judge, if you’re eligible to get you the green card under that. That law sounds a little risky. It is a little risky. That’s why you know, most people don’t really go and put themselves in deportation proceedings. What if you’re actually not eligible? What if you know, the hardship that you’re claiming to your US citizen, relative or permanent resident relative, you know, because essentially, you have to convince the judge that Oh, Judge, you know, I’ve been living here for so long. I have family here. You know, if, if the government’s deport me, it’s going to be an extreme hardship on my US citizen children, my US citizen wife. You know, you have to show extreme hardship, but if the judge doesn’t agree with you, you know, you’ll get into occasion order.
Michael Levitis 05:03
It does say in the article, on Mr. Moreno, that a lot of his clients were deported as a result of his actions.
Yakov Spektor 05:13
Yeah, it’s I mean, it’s definitely not surprising, but I’m sure that those people who were deported, that’s not what they signed up for. Furthermore, I’m sure they weren’t they there were more. They weren’t really the Co-conspirators of Mr. Miranda, they were there. They’re not better victims. Okay. And that’s the that’s the reason. You know, he’s a professor at CUNY, he is an immigration lawyer, and he was an immigration lawyer until very recently, he looks super pleasant. You know, he looks like like a, you know, a person that you would trust. Trust your immigration case, you. But this is essentially what happened. He tried to do to put them in front of an immigration judge, you need in order to do that, that by itself is not a crime just yet. Okay. But the only way to get yourself in front of the immigration judge is basically to have the government pay attention to you, right to say, Oh, look, this guy is here without any status. Let’s try and deport him. And then they’ll send your case over to the immigration judge to sort of to try to make their case that the immigration judge ordered him deported. So what the way it’s done is that, like the what people like Mr. Moreno and other people who conservative peddling that scam, do they will file a fake asylum application for you? Okay, attention that that asylum application will get denied. And the case will get forwarded to the immigration judge for your deportation proceedings. I see. I don’t know that with 100% certainty that that’s what he did. But he isn’t until proven guilty. But most likely that when the newspapers are talking about this particular scam, this is what they’re talking about. Okay, so it’s super important. If someone tells you, hmm, you’re eligible for the green card, I’ll get you that green card. It might be true, you might be eligible for it. And yet, you could still fall victim to this camp, do you?
Michael Levitis 07:19
So Yakov, thank you for saying it in such simple terms. The takeaway here, correct me if I’m wrong, is that it’s about consent and full disclosure to your clients. First of all, let’s put aside the fact that he was not licensed at a time, which is a crime a state crime, in of itself, unauthorized practice of law is a crime in New York state. That’s one second of all, he filed, possibly fake asylum claims to get in front of a judge, that’s also a crime, correct? It is, yeah. Third, he put his clients in jeopardy, he was very cavalier with them, in that he put them in front of a judge whether there was a big likelihood that the clients could get deported. So he put them in big jeopardy. And that basically played with their lives played with their status in America.
Yakov Spektor 08:20
Now, Michael, you’re correct. It’s the responsibilities primarily with them. But don’t forget that those clients were adult. Okay. They most likely, you know, I could imagine this situation when he told them exactly what he will do for them. He said he, you know, he might have told them that, hey, you know what, I’ll file this fake asylum application for you just to get you in front of the immigration judge. And then we’ll apply for your green card. Okay, but he knows better. He knows the laws. He’s the lawyer, to advise his clients accordingly.
Michael Levitis 08:59
Yeah, and you brought up a very good point in the beginning that his clients most they’re, of course, the immigrants, obviously, but they are mostly it seems, Spanish speaking immigrants, who may not have the full knowledge or command of the English language to what’s going what understand what’s going on. As a matter of fact, when I Googled Mr. Carlos Moreno, what came up is abogado, which means attorney . So which means Spanish people, Spanish speaking clients, people are googling this attorney in Spanish. So they are vulnerable people that deserve protection from an expert from authority and immigration law. Allegedly, this was not the case. Here. Look, what is the question that they are here, Yakov is that you have to search before you come and pay money to an attorney. How do you verify Yakob that this person actually has a license to practice in New York and federal courts?
Yakov Spektor 10:11
That’s so this this question actually kind of caught me off guard, there is a way to verify it, that’s my job. Might have to go to the courthouse to do so. Okay, the courthouses, usually they would list, they would have, you know, somewhere in the corner tucked away from, you know, some from the eyes of people who are just sitting there waiting for their case to go through there. They’re not about to read every, you know, every advertisement that’s posted on the on the cork board, okay. But, you know, they do post the names of the lawyers who are disbarred. Okay. But, you know, I so they might saying that you should go to the courthouse and get a list of people who are disbarred? No, because you got to understand that it’s, it is a crime to make yourself out to be a lawyer if you’re not, okay, that’s, that’s, that’s objectively a crime. There’s not you’re going to call a bunch of lawyers. That’s not something that you have to worry about that they might not be lawyers. What you have to worry about, though, is are they good? Are they honest? Are they going to have my best interests in mind? And your the only way to really to, you know, to get the right answers is to look at the Google reviews to talk to your maybe maybe some of your friends, hire that person before. Ask around. Do you read you pay for a consultation? You know, do a few of those consultations, it’s like, choosing good lawyers like
Michael Levitis 11:39
Choosing get a second opinion, a third opinion? Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. You hit it right on the nail. It is public information, if somebody’s disbarred, so you can check like you said in the courthouse, possibly go search for their name online. And they may be records on internet showing disbarment proceedings and documents relating to it, which may indicate that this attorney was barred. So whoever is listening and looking for attorneys, all types of attorneys specific immigration, do your homework, make sure the attorney is credible. He or she is indeed an attorney. We know that Yakov Spektor is an attorney. We checked them literally as we know exactly. And the phone number, and the website, and the name of Yakov Spektor is on the bottom of the screen. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Yakov for any consultation for second third opinion about your case, because this is actually a life altering decision. Which attorney to pick to represent you in front of a federal judge in your immigration case. I suggest you stay tuned for further sessions because after this one, we’re going to talk about other scams. And we’re going to talk about top three other immigration scams that are out there that you should be mindful of. And by way, next time you talk to an attorney, you talk to a paralegal and that’s actually another subject I want to talk to you about hiring a paralegal instead of an attorney for your immigration case. That’s a whole different topic we’re going to talk about. I know it’s controversial, but guess what, we’ll get into it. So stay tuned for top three, immigration scams. Thanks, everybody. Have a great day. Thanks. Take care.
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