Brooklyn Man Who Posed As Immigration Lawyer Gets 2 to 4 Years

He posted ads around his neighborhood in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, billing himself as a lawyer specializing in immigration cases. To burnish his credentials, on ads and business cards, Howard Seidler appended an alphabet of suffixes to his name: Esq., J.D. and Ph.D.

But Mr. Seidler was not a lawyer, prosecutors said. He was not licensed to practice law in New York or to provide immigration services.

Mr. Seidler, 70, was sentenced on Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn to two to four years in state prison for posing as an immigration lawyer and charging thousands of dollars for services he never provided, prosecutors said.

He pleaded guilty last month to charges of third-degree grand larceny and first-degree immigrant-services fraud, making him the first person to be convicted of the felony charge created in New York last year to protect immigrants targeted in fraudulent schemes, prosecutors said. He had faced a maximum sentence of 19 years in prison.

“Howard Seidler is going to an upstate prison because he preyed on some of the most vulnerable members of our society — undocumented immigrants looking for legal help,” the Brooklyn district attorney, Ken Thompson, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr. Seidler’s lawyer, Sonia Tate-Cousins, declined to comment.

Mr. Seidler posted advertisements around Sunset Park from November 2014 to May 2015, prosecutors said, and took appointments with clients in the legal library of the Brooklyn Bar Association in Brooklyn Heights. He called it his office.

On April 8, an undercover investigator from the district attorney’s office met with him there, paying Mr. Seidler $3,085 to act as his lawyer and help him get a green card and a Social Security card, prosecutors said.

By RICK ROJAS of New York times
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