US-based Ghanaian lawyer faces 15-year jail term for immigration fraud charges

A Ghanaian Immigration lawyer based in New York is facing a fifteen years’ jail term for allegedly defrauding thousands of Ghanaians living in America over green card issuance.

Kofi Amankwaa is also reported to have caused financial loss to the American state, caused deportations for some immigrants and denied Green card applications through an illegal scheme where he hundreds of immigrants have been victims.

Kofi Amankwaa is being charged alongside with his son, Kofi Amankwaa Jnr, his associates, Sylvester Boateng, Nana Adoma Kontoh and Betty Smith.

Per New York Post report, Kofi Amankwaa and his accomplices charge immigrants $6000 per head with the promise to help secure green cards for them.

Kofi Amankwa and his scheme is also alleged to exploit the Violence Against Women Act by falsely asking clients to say the are victims of domestic abuse to facilitate the clients’ bid for legal residency in the U.S.

In some cases, Amankwaa is accused of asking clients to falsely report their children of abuse to expedite the immigration applications.

For these alleged offences, the New York State Attorney, Letitia James is seeking up to 15 years in jail for the accused persons.

James said in a press release that Amankwaa and staffers Sylvester Boateng, Nana Adoma Kontoh and Betty Smith were facing civil penalties “for running an illegal scheme that scammed hundreds of vulnerable immigrants.”

“When these immigrants sought help from attorneys claiming to act in their interests, they were taken advantage of and harmed instead,” James said in a statement. “This cruel and illegal scheme led to them being separated from their families and deported.”

Kofi Amankwaa and his son were arraigned before the federal court on January 22 and were charged with conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and committing immigration fraud.

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said the father and son team “sought to make a mockery of the US immigration system.”

“Amankwaa and his son allegedly exploited the Violence Against Women Act – a law that allows non-citizen victims of domestic abuse a path to lawful permanent residence status – for their own financial gain,” Attorney Damian Williams noted in a statement.

A New York lawmaker, Catalina Cruz Esq who reported the case said Amankwa’s scheme led to the deportation of families and denied families the American dream.

“This is so far from the actual truth. His egregious acts resulted in the deportation of families who went to him looking to apply the so called “right away”. He defrauded the government, the families and stole their American dream,” she wrote on her X account.

In the law suit, the State Attorney is seeking to stop the defendants’ illegal activities as well restitution and damages for affected persons, along with civil penalties to the state.

The U.S. Attory’s Office for the Southern District of New York has also filed a parallel criminal action against Mr. Amankwaa and his son charging them with a large-scale immigration fraud scheme.

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