TRENTON, N.J. – Two Somerset County, New Jersey, attorneys were indicted today for making false statements under penalty of perjury in visa applications, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Steven G. Thomas, 52, and Maria Thomas, 81, both of Montgomery Township, New Jersey, were indicted for conspiring to prepare and file false visa applications on behalf of clients. Steven Thomas was also charged with one count of filing a false visa application.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From 2015 to 2021, the defendants encouraged their clients to apply for asylum under fraudulent pretenses. They advised their clients regarding the manner in which they were most likely to obtain asylum, knowing that these clients did not legitimately qualify for asylum. The defendants then prepared, or caused to be prepared, fraudulent applications and affidavits on behalf of those clients, which were submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
A confidential source also met with Steven Thomas in January of 2020, and Steven Thomas filed a visa application containing numerous false statements in April 2020.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel in Newark, with the investigation leading to the indictment.
The government is represented by Senior Civil Rights Counsel Joseph Gribko.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.