CAMDEN, N.J. – A Pennsylvania man has been arrested for committing immigration documents fraud and aggravated identity theft in New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Luc Fikiri Matthews, 47, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was indicted on Feb. 9, 2022, on six counts of submitting false and fraudulent immigration documents and six counts of committing aggravated identity theft. Matthews is scheduled to make his initial appearance later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matthew J. Skahill.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In 2017 and 2018, Matthews falsely represented himself as an immigration attorney in order to attract business from noncitizens who did not have legal permanent resident status in the United States. Under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, the victims of certain qualifying crimes that occur in the United States, including noncitizen victims who might otherwise be subject to immigration removal proceedings, may be eligible to obtain a U Visa and remain in the United States. After agreeing to represent new clients and charging them fees, Matthews prepared and submitted false and fraudulent U Visa application documents to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
The documents prepared by Matthews included multiple fraudulent statements, such as falsely representing that his clients had been the victims of certain qualifying crimes, or containing false names, signatures, and other false means of identification, from various visa applicants and government officials located in New Jersey and New York. None of Matthews’ clients ever actually received a U Visa.
Each count of immigration documents fraud is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Each count of aggravated identity theft is punishable by up to two years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other term imposed, as well as a maximum fine of $250,000.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special-Agent-in-Charge Jason J. Molina in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Aliabadi of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Camden office.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.