Thursday, February 18, 2010
Hancock Park Man Faces Federal Visa Fraud Trial
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A federal trial has been set for March 16 for a Hancock Park man who has pleaded not guilty to visa fraud, subscribing to false tax returns, making false statements to a government agency and financial aid fraud.
Samuel Klein, 58, entered his pleas Tuesday in response to a federal grand jury indictment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. One of the fraud charges alleges that he applied for immigration visas making false claims that the applicants would be employed as religious workers in New York.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, Klein falsely claimed on his applications for visas that his clients were affiliated with synagogues or Jewish community groups and that their services were needed by religious institutions in New York state.
Another charge in the indictment alleges that a visa applicant had no plans to work for a New York company as claimed in his application, and that the immigrant did not have the work qualifications asserted in the petition.
Klein is a tax preparer who ran a business called Smartax on Wilshire Boulevard, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He and his wife, Zipora Klein, 57, pleaded not guilty to filing false tax returns for the years 2003 through 2006. The indictment alleges that the returns substantially under-reported their income.
Another charge asserts that Klein reported the couple’s 2005 income as $38,902 when he applied for federal financial aid in 2006, while the couple actually had income of more than $190,000 that year.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Klein could face up to 72 years in prison if convicted on all 11 counts, and his wife faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner of the Central District of California is scheduled to hear the case.
Investigations of the case were conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Education.
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