A Pennsylvania man, who is an attorney operating a law firm in Somerset County, has been arrested for allegedly making false statements in visa applications, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Steven G. Thomas, 52, of New Hope, Pennsylvania, appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday afternoon on the charge of preparing and filing false applications for visas on behalf of clients, via a complaint.

At his Montgomery Township law firm, Thomas allegedly encouraged clients to apply for asylum -- but, under false pretenses.

He convinced his clients that they would receive asylum and had to come up with a way to explain how it would work.

Attorney Sellinger explained that Thomas knew these specific clients couldn't legitimately qualify for asylum.

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In addition to asking his clients to seek asylum, Thomas is also accused of preparing or causing fraudulent applications and affidavits to be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, on behalf of those clients.

His rouse came to an end in 2020.

It was in January of that year that a confidential informant working for law enforcement met Thomas, and he, in turn, filed a visa application with loads of false statements on their behalf in April of 2020.

The government in this case is represented by Senior Civil Rights Counsel Joseph Gribko of the Criminal Division in Newark.

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