NY Lawyer Disbarred for Defrauding Hundreds of Immigrants

A document filed Tuesday in New York‘s First Appellate District says that a lawyer who filed more than 1,000 “fraudulent and frivolous” immigration petitions was kicked out of the legal profession six years after being cleared of criminal charges.

Over eight years, New York’s Attorney Grievance Committee accused Owolabi Salis of purposefully submitting 1,185 bogus green card applications. The filing indicates one approval.

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A New York Supreme Court referee found Salis guilty of professional conduct violations in March. On Tuesday, the court granted the committee’s request to uphold the referee’s sentence of losing his law license.

Salis’ assistant said he was in court Tuesday and unable to discuss his licence status.
Salis was acquitted of immigration-related crimes in 2016.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office accused him of defrauding at least 30 customers by claiming they were eligible for green cards and receiving roughly $5,000 from each.

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After Homeland Security helped the DA with a criminal case, the Attorney Grievance Committee looked at what Salis did.

Salis sued the Department of Homeland Security in federal court for unjustly targeting him after his felony acquittal. After a failed Supreme Court petition, his DHS case ended in October 2021. Owolabi Salis, Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, No. 2013-00285.

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