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Immigration Attorney Ethics Question

Bronx, NY |

If an immigration attorney finds during the course of his representation that his client is perpetuating a fraud what are his duties/responsibilities and to whom? Is there a duty to report it? Can the attorney report it if they wish or is there a duty to the client not to report it? Must they withdraw from the representation?

The fraud is a marriage fraud. They initially claimed to be residing together but through the course of representation it has become clear they do not and that their marriage is a "sham."

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Attorney answers 4


The attorney cannot be a party to perpetrating the fraud. Ethically, the attorney must withdraw from representation. The attorney would not be able to disclose the reason for his withdrawal as it would be prejudicial to his client. Even if the client admits the fraud to the attorney, the attorney cannot disclose it as the discussion is protected by the attorney/client privilege.

That being said, just because a married couple does not reside together does not mean the marriage is a sham. Of course if they never intended to spend the rest of their lives together then the marriage is a sham from its inception.

Kathleen M. Angustia

Kathleen M. Angustia


I agree with my colleague.


Withdraw from case and inform clients about the negative consequences of their acts.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry

Law Office of Luis A. Guerra (954) 434-5800. This answer is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as final, nor is it intended as legal advice.


Withdraw from the matter immediately and inform your client of civil and criminal punishments they will face as a result of their fraud. There is no duty to report as long as attorney withdraws once fraud is discovered and does not participate/assist in commission of crime. Good luck!.


Withdraw from the case and look at New York Rules of Professional Conduct 1.0, 3.3. I would also suggest calling the ethics bar regarding remedial measures.

Patrick Caston Crowley, Esq. (718-769-6352) Law Offices of Marina Shepelsky, P.C. 936 Kings Hwy, 2nd Floor Brooklyn, NY 11223 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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