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Lawyer-Turned-Rabbi Guilty in Huge Immigration Fraud Scheme

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on April 11, 2012 6:04 AM

A suspended lawyer-turned-rabbi pleaded guilty Monday in what prosecutors say may be the largest immigration fraud scheme in U.S. history.

Earl Seth David, 48, charged illegal immigrants up to $30,000 for his legal services, in which he filed fraudulent letters that claimed the immigrants were sponsored by U.S. employers, the New York Daily News reports.

Some 25,000 illegal immigrants paid David for his fraudulent services over a 13-year period, according to the Daily News. David now has to forfeit his profits -- about $2.5 million. And that's not all.

Earl Seth David, who also goes by Rabbi Avraham David, faces up to eight years in prison at his sentencing hearing Aug. 15, the Daily News reports.

The lawyer-turned-rabbi, who has dual American and Canadian citizenship, initially ran his immigration fraud operation out of his Manhattan law firm beginning in 1996, Reuters reports.

But when authorities began to investigate, David moved to Canada in 2006. Still, David continued his immigration fraud scheme from Canada, using a bank account in the name of a 2003 book he wrote called "Code of the Heart," according to Reuters.

"Code of the Heart" is a treatise on Hebrew numerology that claims a secret code can predict future events in the Bible, Reuters reports.

Too bad David couldn't predict the legal consequences he was about to face for his immigration fraud. He was arrested in Canada in October, and extradited to the United States in January.

Lawyer-turned-rabbi Earl Seth David has been suspended from practicing law in New York since 2004, Reuters reports, though it's not clear what that suspension was for. David remains in custody, after the judge on Monday denied bail in his immigration fraud case, Newsday reports.

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