News release originally published by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina

North Carolina Licensed Attorney Indicted for Aiding and Abetting Visa Fraud and False Statements in Immigration Proceedings

RALEIGH, N.C.—Robert J. Higdon Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announced that a federal grand jury in Raleigh has returned an indictment charging Sarah Jane Brinson, age 34, from Clinton, North Carolina, with aiding and abetting visa fraud and false statements in immigration proceedings.

The indictment alleged that Brinson, a licensed attorney and notary public in North Carolina, prepared and submitted on behalf of a client immigration applications containing false statements.

As alleged in the charging document, her client was a citizen of Guatemala who retained Brinson under his real name but was utilizing an assumed name to illegally work in the United States. The indictment additionally alleges that, while Brinson knew her client’s real name, she notarized the client’s signature under the assumed identity and represented him in Wayne County District Court on several traffic matters.

Further, the indictment alleged that Brinson prepared and submitted to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) an application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and a request for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), stating under penalty of perjury that her client had not used other names.

If convicted, Brinson would face maximum penalties of 15 years’ imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the Document Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF) led by Homeland Security Investigations, and assisted by USCIS, among other agencies.

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