We have more photos and information concerning the FBI raid on several East Broadway offices today. The Associated Press is reporting that several arrests have been made in connection with a sweeping immigration fraud investigation. Federal prosecutors are expecting to charge about two dozen people, including several immigration attorneys. Officials are planning to release more details concerning the investigation later today.
FBI agents as well as NYPD officers are stationed outside 2 East Broadway (near Bowery) this afternoon. A short time ago, a man was led from the building as agents continue to search offices. Agents were also milling around 11 East Broadway, the HSBC building at Catherine Street.
UPDATE 2:30 P.M. THE U.S. Justice Department has put out a press release concerning the investigation. See excerpts below:
(Law enforcement officials) announced today the unsealing of nine Indictments charging a total of 26 defendants with allegedly participating in separate but overlapping immigration fraud schemes related to the submission of hundreds of asylum applications containing fabricated claims of persecution. As alleged in the Indictments, at least 10 New York City area law firms created and submitted these fraudulent applications on behalf of alien applicants and coached them on how to lie to immigration authorities. Of the 26 defendants charged, 21 work at the various law firms, six as attorneys. Also charged are four translators who work at an asylum office in Queens, New York; and an employee at a church in Queens where she allegedly provides training in basic Christianity to asylum applicants falsely claiming to have been persecuted in China for their religious beliefs. Twenty-one defendants were taken into custody late this morning and will be presented and arraigned this afternoon and tomorrow before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn. Of the remaining defendants, two will be surrendering tomorrow and three are at large.
You can see the full press release here.
See more photos from today’s raids after the jump.