Immigration lawyer who posed as rabbi sentenced to four years in prison

NEW YORK (JTA) — A New York immigration lawyer who fraudulently presented himself as a rabbi was sentenced to a four-year prison term.

Earl Seth David, 49, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan for passing himself off as Rabbi Avraham David in order to swindle illegal immigrants in their bid for naturalization. He also was forced to pay $2.5 million in damages.

Aiming to win the trust of the immigrants, David posed as a rabbi for 13 years and would take up to $30,000 per case to forge documents to submit to the U.S. Department of Labor.

In 2004, David was suspended from practicing law; in 2006 he fled to Canada. Five years later he was arrested in Toronto and extradited to New York.

Last year, David pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

David’s sentence included two years of supervised release following his prison term.

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