Fishers attorney pleads guilty to immigration fraud

An attorney from Fishers, Indiana has pleaded guilty to filing false visa applications for immigrants.

Joel Paul, 45, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis on Thursday, according to a release from the Justice Department. The plea agreement shows that Paul submitted more than 250 visa applications for his clients without their knowledge, taking in around $750,000 in fraudulent fees.

The applications were filed between 2013 and 2017, and they claimed that Paul’s clients had been victims of crime and had cooperated with law enforcement investigations of those crimes. In at least 200 of the applications, federal prosecutors say Paul submitted unauthorized copies of a certification of his clients’ cooperation from a U.S. Attorney’s office.

Paul agreed to plead guilty to mail fraud, immigration document fraud and aggravated identity theft. He is scheduled to be sentenced sometime in early 2018.

“Individuals who commit immigration fraud undermine and abuse our generous immigration system—a system that lawfully admits more immigrants than any other country in the world—and put our public safety and national security at risk,” said U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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