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New York Man Indicted for Defrauding Victims in Immigration Scam

Release Date: June 17, 2013

Defendant Preyed On Victims from Europe, Asia and South America

NEW YORK – Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of Martin Mannert, 41, for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from victims of a scam after falsely representing himself as someone qualified to provide assistance with immigration benefit applications. 

This case was investigated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General; and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (“HIDTA”) U.S. Marshals, Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force.”

According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, between January 2010 and April 2013, Mannert, the president of a company called Consulting Services of New York, falsely represented himself as a legal advisor and immigration consultant to numerous victims from several countries who were seeking to adjust their lawful status in the United States. Based on his fraudulent representation, victims paid Mannert, who is not an attorney, an average of $10,000 dollars apiece. After accepting their money, the defendant sent his victims forged documents purporting to be from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Labor, falsely suggesting that victims’ applications for benefits, such as work authorization, had been approved. In fact, no applications were filed for any of the victims during the period that they worked with Mannert.

I encourage anyone who may have been in contact with the defendant or who feels that he or she may have been the victim of a similar scam to call my Office’s Immigrant Affairs Hotline at 212-335-3600, regardless of immigration status,” said District Attorney Vance.

The investigation into this case is ongoing. Assistant District Attorney Rosemary Yu, Co-Director of the Immigrant Affairs Program, is handling the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Archana Rao, Deputy Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau, Thomas Wornom, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Program Coordinators Bridgett Smith and Jacob Pang of the Special Prosecutions Bureau provided valuable assistance with the case.

Defendant Information:
MARTIN MANNERT, D.O.B. 8/23/1971
Los Angeles, CA

Charges:

  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 4 counts
  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 3 counts
  • Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 4 counts
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
  • Prohibited Conduct by an Immigration Assistance Service, a class A misdemeanor, 2 counts
  • Prohibited Conduct by an Immigration Assistance Service, a class A misdemeanor, 2 counts

The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

USCIS provides information for avoiding scams, seeking legal advice and reporting immigration fraud at www.uscis.gov/avoidscams.  For more information on immigration benefits, please see www.uscis.gov, call customer service at (800) 375- 5283 or make a free appointment online to speak with a USCIS officer.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/20/2013