Phony Immigration Attorney Charged for Filing Fraudulent Asylum Applications

Sue Byamba
By Sue Byamba
March 12, 2020US News
Phony Immigration Attorney Charged for Filing Fraudulent Asylum Applications
Immigrants prepare to become American citizens at a naturalization service in Newark, N.J., on Jan. 22, 2018. (John Moore/Getty Images)

A Florida man was charged for filing hundreds of fraudulent asylum applications on behalf of undocumented immigrants, prosecutors announced on March 11.

Elvis Harold Reyes, 56, of Brandon was charged on March 9 with eight counts of mail fraud, eight counts of making false statements in immigration documents, and nine counts of identity theft, according to an official release from the Department of Homeland Security.

Reyes claimed he was an immigration attorney, pastor, accountant, immigration expert, former immigration official, and former federal law enforcement officer who owned and operated EHR Ministries Inc.

Specifically targeting undocumented immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries who were seeking to obtain drivers licenses and work authorizations, Reyes gave false advice to them so that they would retain his services.

Many immigrants paid Reyes to represent them in their immigration-related matters.

Reyes also filed fraudulent immigration applications on behalf of the immigrants that were allegedly filled with made-up stories of threats, persecution, and fear that the immigrants themselves were not aware of.

According to the release, he filed more than 215 fraudulent asylum applications in this manner.

Although Reyes has been formally charged, he is still considered innocent until proven guilty.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison for mail fraud, 15 years for false statements, and two years for identity theft.

The case will be further prosecuted.

Any person who was a possible victim, or knows of someone who may have been, is prompted to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or visit the ICE website.

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