Cite as: Matter of David, M-3022, NYLJ 1202577765609, at *1 (App. Div. 1st, Decided November 8, 2012)

Before: Acosta, J.P., Renwick, DeGrasse, Freedman and Richter, JJ.

Decided: November 8, 2012

Jorge Dopico, Chief Counsel, Departmental Disciplinary Committee, New York (Raymond Vallejo, of counsel), for petitioner.

Moskowitz & Book, LLP. (Avraham C. Moskowitz, J.), for respondent.

 

*1

Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Earl S. David, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the Second Judicial Department on December 14, 1988.

 

 

*2

PER CURIAM

 

Respondent Earl S. David was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the Second Judicial Department on December 14, 1988 as Earl Seth David. Respondent's last registered business address was in New Jersey. However, for a significant portion of the period at issue, 1996-2009, respondent maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Department.

In an order dated January 29, 2004, this Court suspended respondent for a period of 15 months for his participation in a scheme involving securities fraud, bribery, and money laundering. Respondent was granted immunity from criminal prosecution after agreeing to cooperate with federal authorities.

In October 2011, respondent, along with 11 other co-defendants, was charged in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York with conspiracy to commit immigration fraud through the making of material false statements in violation of 18 USC §§371, 1001, and 1546(a); making false statements to immigration authorities in violation of 18 USC §§ 1546(a) and 2; conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in violation of 18 USC §§1341, 1343, and 1349; and conspiracy to

*3

commit money laundering in violation of 18 USC §1956(a)(1)(B)(I) and (h).

 

Specifically, from 1996 through 2009, respondent organized an immigration fraud scheme by filing fraudulent applications and petitions with the United States Department of Labor and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for labor certifications and for adjustment of legal status based on, among other things, phony claims that employers had sponsored the individuals for employment in the United States. Respondent operated this scheme out of his Manhattan law office.

On April 2, 2012, pursuant to a plea agreement, respondent pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Respondent has not yet been sentenced.

During his plea allocution respondent admitted that from 1996 to 2009 he conspired to file more than 100 immigration documents, that he knew were false, with the Department of Labor. He further admitted that he knew it was against the law to do so. Respondent also stipulated that under federal sentencing guidelines he could be sentenced to a period of incarceration ranging from 78 to 97 months and that he was subject to a court

*4

imposed fine ranging from $12,500 to $125,000. Respondent further agreed to forfeit $2.5 million in assets.

 

The Departmental Disciplinary Committee now seeks an order striking respondent's name from the roll of attorneys pursuant to Judiciary Law §90(4)(b). Automatic disbarment under §90(4)(b) is appropriate because respondent's federal conviction for conspiracy to commit immigration fraud through the making of material false statements is "essentially similar" to the New York felony of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, in violation of Penal Law §175.35 (Matter of Porges, 297 AD2d 1, 3 [1st Dept. 2002] [attorney convicted of, among other things, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. (18 USC §371) was disbarred since his "federal conviction relating to his filing of false applications to the [INS] constitutes the crime of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a class E felony under New York law"]; Matter of Amsterdam, 26 AD3d 94 [1st Dept. 2005][attorney convicted of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by making false statement (18 USC § 371) was disbarred based upon plea admissions that established the elements of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree]). Even though respondent has not yet been sentenced, the timing of this application is appropriate because the motion to strike is properly based upon a guilty plea or verdict

*5

(Judiciary Law §90 [4][a]; Matter of Cutillo, 86 AD3d 1 [1st Dept 2011]).

 

Accordingly, the petition should be granted and respondent's name stricken from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law in the State of New York, effective nunc pro tunc to April 2, 2012.

All concur.