WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – A South Florida man has been accused of impersonating an immigration lawyer.
Levy Garcia-Crespo has helped numerous clients with their immigration issues and concerns.
“This is the best lawyer!” wrote a satisfied client in an online review. “This attorney saved my husband from being deported…Attorney Crespo is a blessing from God.”
Unfortunately, Garcia-Crespo,34, is not a licensed immigration attorney.
On Thursday, Garcia-Crespo’s home and office were raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. The following day, he was charged with a felony crime of impersonating a lawyer.
During a hearing in U.S. District Court, prosecutors uncovered that Garcia-Crespo had filed 3,000 false immigration forms which allowed illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. In addition, he represented countless clients in court, posing as an official immigration lawyer.
According to prosecutors, Garcia-Crespo used the name of a real attorney when conducting consultations. He claimed to be Gerald Salerno, a former assistant state attorney with whom he used to share an office at Palm Way Professional Centre on Forest Hill Boulevard.
There appear to be some discrepancies with Salerno’s information as well. Salerno lists the Forest Hill Boulevard address with the Florida Bar and on his personal website, however, in a recent federal court filing, he claims to have worked for the Fort Lauderdale law firm, Benjamin & Aaronson.
Jamie Benjamin said he had never heard of Salerno and the phone number he listed on court documents belongs to the Broward County Courthouse.
An investigation into Salerno is being conducted. He could not be reached for comment.
Other attorneys who personally know Salerno, 48, as pleasant and a “nice guy.” Salerno is currently living in St. Lucie county and appears to be undergoing some financial problems.
According to records from September, he and his wife lost a home they owned in St. Lucie County due to foreclosure. The IRS filed a $30,000 lien against Salerno in August for unpaid business taxes.
Garcia-Crespo remains in jail without bail until a hearing on Wednesday.
While cases of fraud occur on a frequent basis, the important thing to remember is that there are qualified and licensed immigration attorneys out there waiting to help clients just like you with immigration issues.
In order to ensure that your paralegal is legitimate, be sure to research their background and case history as well as education. you want to make sure you work with an immigration lawyer that is Board Certified and who has years of successful experience with cases pertaining to U.S. Immigration Law in order to avoid any problems.
With an acclaimed immigration attorney working on your case, you can rest assured that everything will work out in your favor. You can turn to immigration lawyers for assistance with preventing deportation, applying for legal status, reuniting family members and even criminal charges.