The United States Depar tment of State runs a Diversity Visa lottery program every year, which grants up to 55,000 visas annually to those who want to get green cards to put them on the path to becoming a lawful permanent resident. The Diversity Visa lottery can be entered for free on the website of the state department and the drawing is random, with no way to increase odds of winning.
In some cases, individuals and businesses are accused of fraud in connection with the diversity visa lottery program. This can lead to federal criminal charges or to state criminal charges. Bukh Law Firm, PLLC provides legal representation to anyone who has been accused of a fraud crime in connection with any immigration matters. Our legal team can help you if you’ve been charged for running visa lottery scams. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn about the legal assistance available for fighting the serious accusations against you.
Green card lottery scams can take many different forms. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines scams to include:
- Charging money, especially exorbitant fees, to help perspective candidates apply for the diversity visa lottery.
- Promising to increase someone’s chances of winning the diversity visa lottery, usually in exchange for money or items of value.
- Sending a message claiming that the visa lottery has been won, and asking for money.
The U.S. Senate Department’s Office of the Inspector General also indicated large-scale fraud rings are operating in some parts of the world. In the Ukraine, for example, personal information about citizens is obtained and citizens are entered into the lottery without their knowledge. Citizens are prevented from entering the lottery on their own as the system detects duplicate entries. Citizens are asked to pay thousands of dollars to get their confirmation number to pursue applications for visas if they are chosen. Some visa winners are also forced to enter into sham marriages with those who want to immigrate and who can pay fees. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
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Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
U.S. authorities at the state or federal level may pursue all investigations into all different types of fraud, including simple false advertisements that occur by U.S. companies as well as organized fraud schemes worldwide. Any involvement with a DV lottery scam could possibly lead to arrest if authorities are able to prove wrongdoing.
Penalties for visa lottery scams vary depending upon what actions are taken, and whether the authorities pursuing the charges are federal or state prosecutors. Defendants could be charged with fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents under U.S. Code Section 1546, which can carry a maximum of 10 years in prison for a first offense that did not involve intent to facilitate terrorism or drug trafficking.
Defendants could also be charged with fraud in connection with identification documents or other federal identity theft offenses under 18 U.S. Code Sections 1028 and 1028(A) or with the crime outlined in 18 U.S. Code Section 912 of falsely pretending to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States. It is also common for defendants involved in a visa lottery scams to be charged with federal mail fraud, federal wire fraud, other federal crimes, and state-level offenses including unauthorized practice of law.
A NY immigration scams lawyer can explain the penalties you could face for a DV lottery scam, can help you to understand your charges, and can provide strategic legal advice for responding to the accusations. Call Bukh Law Firm, PLLC so our experienced legal team can get to work defending you and protecting your future.