Federal Conviction for Filing False Immigration Documents Gets Lawyer Automatically Disbarred

Case: In the Matter of Maritza Diaz, an attorney and counselor‑at‑law

Court: Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York

Date: 7/10/12

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Brooklyn and Queens; Queens accident lawyer)

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Facts: This is a lawyer disciplinary proceeding. Having got her law license in 1996, this lawyer should have known better.

From 2003 until 2007 she participated in an immigration fraud scheme. Thousands of phony aliens had papers filed for them, falsely claiming sponsorship for employment in the U.S. She was convicted in Federal Court for her role in the scam.

This case raises a narrow technicality in lawyer disciplinary law.

If convicted of a New York State felony, her disbarment (loss of her law license) would be automatic. Here she is fighting to show that her Federal conviction (after a guilty plea) is not identical to any New York State felony, so she can fight automatic disbarment and try to get some less severe penalty.

Comment: Courts are not inclined to show any love to a lawyer who has disgraced the profession.

Held: This lawyer's admitted acts of submitting false immigration documents to the government matches the New York felony of offering a false statement for filing. This lawyer is automatically disbarred.

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