Homeland security raids lead to arrest, new information released at federal hearing

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - UPDATE: He called himself an immigration attorney. Now, 34-year-old Levy Garcia-Crespo is facing serious fraud charges.

The government's criminal complaint against Crespo was released Friday, just as he faced a judge in a West Palm Beach federal court.

Allegations are that Crespo is not an attorney. He just posed as one.

It all unraveled back in October of last year. According to the criminal complaint, filed on May 25th, that's when Crespo went to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office on behalf of clients, and represented himself as a lawyer.

The complaint goes on to say that Crespo processed more than 3,000 illegal immigrant applications.

Crespo did not have an attorney himself at the time of his court appearance, but his wife came to court to hear the charges against her husband.

Immigration attorney, Lisa Dorsey, says it's those seeking residency in the U.S. that are at risk.

"They're desperate," she states. "They really want to believe someone can help them. A lot of times, it's their entire life savings that's being used up to file applications here."

The criminal complaint stated that Levy Garcia-Crespo appeared in immigration court in Miami and Broward County, "representing himself to be Gerald Thomas Salerno."

According to the Florida Bar, Gerald Salerno is an attorney practicing criminal, family, immigration and nationality law.

Crespo is not listed as a member of the Florida Bar.

The government also claims that Crespo even passed off, as his own, the Florida Bar Association ID card of a man who shared his office.

He remains in federal custody awaiting a pre-trial hearing on June 1st at 10 a.m.

He will be arraigned on June 13th.

 

 

EARLIER STORY, by WPTV Web Team:

Two raids in one day have lead to the arrest of a West Palm Beach immigration lawyer on federal fraud charges.

34-year-old Levy Garcia Crespo was taken into custody Thursday morning.

Homeland Security and immigration officials raided two separate locations in Palm Beach County.

One official did confirm that a search warrant was being executed at a residence owned by immigration attorney Levy Crespo. The first scene was a home in a Lake Clarke Shores neighborhood in the 14-hundred block of Keller Road.

Neighbors say they saw investigators take boxes out of the home and saw technicians dust for fingerprints.

The other raid took place at the law firm office Crespo shares with another immigration attorney in the 36-hundred block of Forest Hill Boulevard in suburban West Palm Beach. When contacted, that lawyer would only says "there's an ongoing investigation."

An official stated that this is a "big case."

Rochelle Ritchie contributed to this report.

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