A Sunset Park man faces up to 15 years in prison after an undercover investigation revealed he had allegedly posed as an attorney and charged thousands of dollars for bogus immigration services.
District Attorney Ken Thompson announced the indictment against Howard Seidler on June 1, stating that Seidler had swindled undocumented immigrants by pretending to be an attorney providing immigration services and offering forged documents in exchange for thousands of dollars in fees.
“We will aggressively investigate and prosecute any and all con artists, especially fake lawyers, who prey on undocumented immigrants to steal their hard-earned money through fraud,” said Thompson.
The allegedly bogus barrister even met prospective clients in the library on the Brooklyn Bar Association in Downtown, claiming it was his office, according to the indictment.
An undercover detective investigator from the District Attorney’s Office met with Seidler pretending to seek immigration services, and was given a Social Security card that was allegedly forged. The investigation found that the Social Security number on the card did not belong to the name used by the detective and that the immigration paperwork given to him by Seidler was never filed with federal immigration authorities.
Authorities arrested Seidler on May 26. The charges against him include falsely posing as a lawyer, first-degree forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, third-degree grand larceny, and first-degree immigrant assistance services fraud.
Actual attorney Sonia Tate-Cousins of Brooklyn Defender Services will act as Seidler’s defense lawyer. She did not immediately return calls for comment.