- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Millions of dollars once reaped by a corrupt immigration lawyer who fleeced hundreds of desperate immigrants will help fund the federal and local police forces that shut down the scheme.

Paul J. McNulty, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, yesterday presented checks for thousands of dollars to members of the Immigration Task Force that in 2002 helped close the case against Samuel G. Kooritzky, a lawyer who charged immigrants looking for work between $8,000 and $20,000 for fraudulent labor certifications.

Kooritzky, of Vienna, Va., was convicted of 57 counts that included immigration fraud, visa fraud, money laundering and extortion charges. He was sentenced in 2003 to 127 months in prison.

“There’s a nice poetic justice to this process,” Mr. McNulty said. “We hope we’ve sent a message … that if you do immigration law work for a living, you’d better follow the rules.”

Prosecutors said the labor certification scam was one of the largest in history. Kooritzky’s firm — Capital Law Centers, which had offices in Maryland, Virginia and the District — filed more than 2,700 fraudulent labor certifications with the Department of Labor on behalf of businesses trying to hire foreign workers.

Kooritzky and his associates forged the signatures of unknowing business managers on the certifications, officials said. The newly employed illegal aliens then could begin applying for a green card, which would allow them to become permanent residents of the United States.

Kooritzky, the fourth person convicted in the multiagency investigation, was ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution. Government agencies recovered more than $6 million in forfeitures and restitution in the case.

About $4.7 million of the recovered funds has been paid to victims of the scam, state’s attorney’s officials said. The remaining $1.5 million was presented to agencies that participated in the investigation, including the departments of State, Labor and Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service.

Yesterday, the Fairfax County Police Department received a check for $505,873.79 and Arlington County Police received $72,267 for their respective roles in the investigation.

Officials from both departments said the Kooritzky case showed the necessity of multiagency cooperation when dealing with illegal immigration.

“No one agency can deal with all of the issues surrounding immigration,” said Rebecca Hackney, Arlington County deputy assistant police chief. “When you have one agency [working] on its own, they’re really missing a big piece.”

Police officials said the money will be placed into a pool of equitable sharing and will be used to fund other investigations, as well as pay for equipment and other department needs. U.S. attorney’s officials for the Eastern District said they recovered about $8 million in restitution during fiscal 2005.

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