US Attorney And Son Charged With ‘Large-Scale’ Immigration Fraud Scheme On Caribbean Nationals

(CMC) – Bronx, New York-based immigration attorney Kofi Amankwaa and his son, Kofi Amankwaa Jr., have been accused of carrying out a “large-scale” immigration fraud scheme on Caribbean and other migrants.

The allegations are contained in a complaint that was unsealed by US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, and Michael Alfonso, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Newark Field Office of the US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

“As alleged, Kofi Amankwaa, an immigration attorney, and his son, Kofi Amankwaa Jr., sought to make a mockery of the US immigration system by conspiring to defraud the United States and commit immigration fraud,” said Williams, whose father is a Jamaican-born physician.

“Amankwaa and his son allegedly exploited the Violence Against Women Act — a law that allows non-citizen victims of domestic abuse a path to lawful permanent residence status — for their own financial gain by falsely claiming that their clients were victims of domestic abuse,” he added.

“Thanks to the dedicated actions of our law enforcement partners and the career prosecutors of this office, the defendants must now answer for these crimes.”

Alfonso said: “Kofi Amankwaa is charged with deceitful practises, whereby he allegedly victimised clients who relied on his legal assistance with their immigration process.

“HSI is committed to protecting the applicants, petitioners, and requestors of US citizenship who, unfortunately, are often at risk of falling for scams or fraud,” he said.

“HSI is thankful for the collaboration in this investigation with other Department of Homeland Security components, as well as other federal agencies, who continue to help us combat document and benefit fraud.”

According to the allegations in the complaint, from September 2016 to November 2023, Amankwaa, 69, and Amankwaa, Jr, 37, met with clients and directed them to sign fraudulent Form I-360 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Petitions, falsely stating that the clients were abused by their US citizen children.

The complaint alleges that Amankwaa also signed the petitions, under penalty of perjury, as the attorney preparer.

“The defendants used the filing of the fraudulent Form I-360 VAWA Petitions, among other filings, as a basis to request advance parole travel documents for their clients — documents that enable individuals without legal status in the United States to travel abroad temporarily and return,” the complaint says.

“The defendants then directed their clients, upon obtaining the advance parole travel documents, to travel abroad and return to the United States,” it adds.

The complaint says the defendants used the fraudulently procured advance parole as a basis for their clients to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

“The defendants carried out this illegal scheme knowing that their clients had not, in fact, been abused by their children or without ever asking whether any such abuse occurred,” the complaints said.

“Moreover, the defendants were often unsuccessful in obtaining lawful permanent resident status for their clients because the clients’ immigration applications were denied on the basis of fraud, among other reasons.

“The defendants typically charged their clients $6,000 for their services, plus administrative fees,” it adds.

Williams said that in November 2023 following numerous complaints by clients regarding the fraudulent abuse allegations, Amankwaa’s licence to practise law in the State of New York was suspended.

He said the father and son, both of South River, New Jersey, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit immigration fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and one count of immigration fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.