By Bill Parry
A Sunnyside-based immigration attorney has been charged with asylum fraud and knowingly making false statements on more than 180 asylum applications for clients, according to federal prosecutors.
Andreea Dumitru, 42, whose law firm Andreea Dumitru & Associates is located at 48-23 Skillman Ave., faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on the asylum count and 10 years on the false statements count.
“Andreea Dumitru, an immigration attorney, is alleged to have submitted fraudulent forms for over 180 clients, each containing statements and representations she knew to be false,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said. “She now faces prison time for her alleged crimes.”
The indictment alleges that between 2012 and 2017, Dumitru participated in a scheme to submit fraudulent I-589 Forms in connection with applications for asylum. Specifically, she submitted more than 180 applications in which she knowingly made false representations regarding applicants’ criminal histories and containing personal narratives of alleged persecution while certifying each application as true and correct under penalty of perjury, prosecutors said.
“Dumitru is alleged to have used her trusted position to defraud the government, submitting fraudulent documents to claim asylum,” Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Angel Melendez said. “Her alleged actions took up time and resources while those with valid asylum claims waited in line. Now Dumitru will enter a courtroom as a defendant to face the consequences for her alleged actions.”
The charges come in the midst of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration into the United States and increased enforcement activity by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is proud of the hard work of our fraud detection officers that leads us to important cases like this one, and ensures that those who try to commit immigration fraud will face justice,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services New York Asylum Office Director Patricia Menges said.
Last year, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a five-count tax fraud indictment against Dumitru and Evgeny “Taxi King” Freidman alleging the two had pocketed $5 million owed to the MTA. That fraud case is set to go to trial in June.
Dumitru served as chief financial officer at Evgeny’s Taxicab Management, which operates a fleet of more than 800 taxicabs out of several depots across the city, including one on Roosevelt Avenue in Sunnyside.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr