Brooklyn Boro

Fake lawyer who claimed Brooklyn Bar as his office admits immigration fraud

Faces 2 to 4 Years in State Prison at Sentencing

February 3, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Howard Seidler. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn DA’s Office
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Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced on Wednesday that a Sunset Park man has pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree immigrant assistance services fraud for posing as an attorney and charging thousands of dollars for immigration services, which he failed to deliver. 
           
“This fake lawyer targeted and preyed on immigrants in need and who went to him for help,” said Thompson. “In Brooklyn, we must protect our immigrant communities from such con artists, and today’s conviction shows our commitment to do so.”
 
The DA identified the defendant as Howard Seidler, 70, of 336 51st St. in Sunset Park. Seidler, on Wednesday, pleaded guilty before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun to third-degree grand larceny and first-degree immigrant assistance services fraud. The last felony count went into effect in February 2015 and today’s guilty plea marks the first conviction since it was enacted. Seidler is expected to be sentenced to an indeterminate term of two to four years in prison on the grand larceny count and 1 1/2 to three years on the immigrant assistance services fraud count, to run concurrently.
 
Between November 2014 and May 2015, the defendant posted advertisements in Sunset Park, identifying himself as an attorney who provides immigration services. The ads and his business card included the titles “Esq.,” PhD” and “J.D.”
 
A detective investigator from the DA’s Office, working undercover, met with Seidler in the library of the Brooklyn Bar Association at 123 Remsen St. in Downtown Brooklyn, which he claimed to be his office. On April 8, 2015, the detective paid Seidler $3,085 to act as his attorney and help him obtain a green card and a Social Security card. The undercover was then provided with a written retainer contract.
 
The DA said that on April 24, 2015, the undercover had another meeting with Seidler, who gave him a Social Security card and immigration paperwork purportedly filed on his behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The investigation found that the Social Security card was forged, that the Social Security number did not belong to the name used by the detective and that no application was filed on his behalf with U.S. immigration authorities.
 
The investigation also revealed that the defendant is neither licensed nor registered to practice law in New York and that he is not licensed or accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals to provide any services with immigration authorities.   
 

—Information from the Brooklyn DA’s Office

 

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