A federal jury in Sacramento on Thursday convicted three Northern California attorneys and two interpreters of filing hundreds of fraudulent asylum applications.
Attorneys Jagprit Singh Sekhon, 39, of Westminster; his brother Jagdip Singh Sekhon, 42, of Salida; and Manjit Kaur Rai, 33, of Discovery Bay; as well as interpreters Iosif Caza, 43, of Sacramento; and Luciana Harmath, 29, of Glendale, Ariz., were all convicted of conspiracy to defraud federal immigration agencies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District announced.
In a press statement, prosecutors said the defendants, working for the Sacramento and San Francisco firm Sekhon & Sekhon, submitted asylum applications, primarily for Indian and Romanian nationals, “containing fictitious stories of persecution that the clients had supposedly suffered in their home countries.”
The paperwork included “harrowing, but fictitious, stories of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and rape. Some persecution stories were reused in asylum claims for multiple clients,” prosecutors said.
The three attorneys denied fabricating information and said they relied heavily on accounts of events that their clients gave them, according to coverage of the trial in the Sacramento Bee.
The defendants are scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 16.
— Cheryl Miller
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