TORONTO (JTA) — A former lawyer who calls himself a rabbi was arrested in Toronto and is facing extradition to the United States for allegedly running a massive immigration fraud scheme.
U.S. authorities contend that Earl Seth David, who has gone by the name Avraham David and lived the life of a rabbi, for 15 years has run a multimillion-dollar operation that provided fake papers for thousands of undocumented immigrants. David, 47, was arrested Oct. 11 in Toronto.
David for years has been writing scholarly articles and a book on Torah, as well as indulging his passion in gematria, or Hebrew numerology. In online postings, he said he was descended from a Chasidic dynasty. He became involved in a downtown Toronto Orthodox congregation.
With 26 others, David is accused of operating a scheme through his Manhattan law practice. For fees of up to $30,000, clients allegedly were supplied with fake documentation stating that they had been sponsored by U.S. employers to help them immigrate to the United States and secure legal status, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported.
A Canadian citizen, David passed the bar exam in New York in 1988 and practiced law in the state until he was suspended in 2004. He fled to Canada two years later.
His license to practice law was suspended as a result of an unrelated incident some 12 years earlier. According to court documents, David was peripherally involved in a stock manipulation and money-laundering scheme in which he cooperated with authorities and was not charged.