Monday, September 14, 2009

Polk Township Man Indicted on Charges of Defrauding Immigrants by Andrew Scott -

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A Polk Township man defrauded immigrants by falsely representing himself as an attorney who could help them with applications and petitions pending before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service USCIS), according to the Manhattan, N.Y., District Attorney's Office.

Robert Mangieri, 68, who ran Mangieri & Associates at 3001 Broadway in Astoria, N.Y., and 8260 116th St. in Richmond Hill, N.Y., charged one woman $1,300, fraudulently promising to help her stay and work legally in the country, the indictment states. Mangieri was indicted Wednesday, arrested and subsequently released on his own recognizance, said Manhattan District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Alicia Maxey Greene.

Mangieri allegedly committed the crimes between December 2003 and September 2008.

An investigation revealed the following:

A woman sought Mangieri's help in filing appropriate paperwork to remain and work legally in the country. After charging the woman several hundred dollars and assuring her his fee was lower than one she could expect from other attorneys, Mangieri guided her through the filing of several applications with USCIS, including an application for employment authorization.

Mangieri sent USCIS the woman's employment authorization application directly, along with a letter written on paper bearing the letterhead "Hon. Robert P. Mangieri" and signed "the Hon. Robert P. Mangieri." USCIS denied the application.

The woman, who was in the U.S. on a visitor's visa, did not qualify for employment authorization since she did not have an application for a green card pending with USCIS. After her application for employment authorization was denied, Mangieri procured a forged Social Security card with her Tax Identification Number on it.

After USCIS denied several more applications, Mangieri asked the woman for more money, but she doubted him.

To win back her trust, Mangieri showed her what appeared to be a badge, adding to his false image as a retired judge or law enforcement official. He gave her also a business card bearing the name "Robert P. Mangieri" above the words "Juris Doctor" and saying "Mangieri & Associates," providing a P.O. Box and telephone number and bearing an image of the scales of justice.

In total, the woman paid him about $1,300 for services and fees he claimed were required for filing applications with USCIS.

She eventually contacted Emerald Isle Immigration Center in the Bronx, N.Y., which referred her to the Manhattan District Attorney's Immigrant Affairs Program.

Mangieri was found not to be a licensed attorney. The Executive Office for Immigration Review EOIR) confirmed he is not accredited or authorized to represent clients before USCIS or the immigration courts.

USCIS confirmed Mangieri was involved in filing other applications or the representation of other clients before USCIS. Those other applications were denied.

All who sought Mangieri's services are urged to contact the Immigrant Affairs Program hotline at 212) 335-3600.

Mangieri has been indicted on charges of scheming to defraud, grand larceny, criminally possessing a forged instrument and practicing or appearing as an attorney-at-law without being admitted and registered.

If he is convicted or pleads guilty on all charges, he could face up to 12 years in prison.

Mangieri will appear on pre-trial defense motions in court in New York City at a future date. He is being represented by attorney Lori Cohen while Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Om Gillett is prosecuting the case.