CEO Of Immigration Services Company Sentenced To 10 Months in Prison Following Trial Conviction for Immigration Fraud Offenses

CEO Of Immigration Services Company Sentenced To 10 Months in Prison Following Trial Conviction for Immigration Fraud Offenses
Uladzimir Danskoi is the Seventh Defendant Sentenced in Two Immigration Fraud Cases

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ULADZIMIR DANSKOI, the CEO of an immigration services firm, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken to 10 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to commit immigration fraud.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Uladzimir Danskoi, an experienced immigration practitioner who ran an immigration services firm’s Brooklyn office, disregarded the law and helped make a mockery of the U.S. immigration system by conspiring to defraud the United States and commit asylum and visa fraud.  Asylum is meant to help vulnerable people who justifiably fear imprisonment, assault, torture, or death, because of their religion, nationality, ethnicity, political views, gender, or sexual orientation.  Danskoi and his codefendants exploited the immigration system for financial gain by knowingly peddling false claims and coaching clients to lie under oath.  They now face time in prison for these crimes.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment and evidence presented at trial:

A New York City immigration services firm, “Russian America,” worked with clients – primarily aliens from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States – seeking visas, asylum, citizenship, and other forms of legal status in the United States.  Among other things, Russian America advised certain of their clients in the manner in which they were most likely to obtain asylum in this country, fully understanding that those clients did not legitimately qualify for asylum.  The firm also prepared and submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) clients’ fraudulent Form I-589 asylum applications, as well as asylum affidavits – statements of an asylum applicant’s personal history and claimed basis for asylum, often including allegations of past persecution – and related supporting documentation.  Members and associates of each firm also coached certain clients to lie under oath during interviews conducted by USCIS Asylum Officers and provided legal representation to their clients during various immigration proceedings.

ULADZIMIR DANSKOI and previously convicted codefendant YURY MOSHA operated and maintained Russian America’s Brooklyn and Manhattan offices, respectively.  Each advised and aided their clients to seek asylum under fraudulent pretenses.  Among other things, DANSKOI advised a client, a confidential Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) source (the “Source”), to seek asylum on the fraudulent basis that the client was persecuted in Ukraine for being a gay male, when in fact DANSKOI fully understood that the Source was a heterosexual male who suffered no such persecution.  DANSKOI also advised the Source on how to most effectively advance this fraudulent claim; connected the Source with previously convicted codefendant KATERYNA LYSYUCHENKO, who helped the Source prepare a fraudulent personal history (or “Affidavit”); and personally submitted the Source’s fraudulent asylum application and Affidavit, filed under penalty of perjury, to USCIS.

Meanwhile, MOSHA encouraged a second client, a Government cooperating witness posing as a person seeking asylum (the “Client”), to establish and maintain online blogs that were critical of the Client’s home country as a way to generate a claim that, based on the Client’s invented political opinion, it was unsafe for him to return to his native country.  MOSHA did so understanding that the Client’s decision to blog was prompted not by his own idea or initiative, but by MOSHA’s instruction, and that the Client’s motive for blogging was to contrive a basis for asylum rather than to publicly express a sincerely held opinion.  MOSHA also understood that the Client lacked the desire, topical knowledge, journalistic ability, and technical expertise to write blogposts and maintain these blogs.  Accordingly, Mosha connected the Client with unapprehended codefendant TYMUR SHCHERBYNA, a Ukraine-based purported journalist, with the understanding that, in exchange for a fee, SHCHERBYNA would and did maintain and ghost-write the Client’s blog.  MOSHA also personally prepared and submitted the Client’s asylum application, Affidavit, and related paperwork under penalty of perjury, knowing that these documents contained material falsehoods.

When the Source and Client needed to prepare for an interview, conducted under oath by a USCIS asylum officer, DANSKOI and MOSHA connected each to previously convicted codefendant JULIA GREENBERG, a New York immigration attorney, who coached both clients to lie to Asylum Officers and provided legal representation to these clients during immigration proceedings.  For example, GREENBERG, understanding that the Source was a heterosexual male who did not suffer persecution in his home country, prepared the Source for questioning by an Asylum Officer, advised the Source how to falsely answer certain anticipated questions from the Asylum Officer, and instructed the Source to dress and change the Source’s appearance in a manner that comported with GREENBERG’s vision of a gay male.

DANSKOI and MOSHA also agreed to help certain Russian America clients obtain L1 employment visas by creating fake leases and staging offices to create the impression to USCIS that these clients had legitimate jobs waiting for them in the United States.

A similar investigation into another Brooklyn-based firm engaged in asylum fraud on behalf of clients from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States resulted in the convictions of three additional individuals: attorneys ILONA DZHAMGAROVA and ARTHUR ARCADIAN, and IGOR REZNIK.

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DANSKOI, 56, of Staten Island, New York, was previously convicted of one count of conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to commit immigration fraud following a two-week trial before Judge Oetken.

DANSKOI is the seventh defendant to have been sentenced in two immigration fraud cases pending before Judge Oetken and U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil.  The six other defendants who have been sentenced by Judges Oetken or Vyskocil are:

  • ILONA DZHAMGAROVA, 46, of Brooklyn, New York, who was sentenced to two years in prison;
  • YURY MOSHA, 47, of Staten Island, New York, who was sentenced to 10 months in prison;
  • IGOR REZNIK, 40, now of Pennsylvania, who was sentenced to 10 months in prison;
  • ARTHUR ARCADIAN, 44, of Brooklyn, New York, who was sentenced to 6 months in prison;
  • JULIA GREENBERG, 43, of Staten Island, New York, who was sentenced to 3 months in prison; and
  • KATERYNA LYSYUCHENKO, of Milan, Italy, who was sentenced to time-served (approximately 2 months in prison).

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s New York Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, and USCIS’s New York Asylum Office and Fraud Detection and National Security Unit, and he thanked U.S. Customs and Border Protection for its assistance.

This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys David R. Felton and Jonathan E. Rebold are in charge of the prosecution.

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