Earl David, 48, had fled New York in 2006 after he learned that his law firm and colleagues were being investigated for immigration fraud. David, a dual Canadian – U.S. citizen who is also a self-proclaimed Rabbi and scholar of the Torah, fled to Canada, and started leading a holy life. In Toronto, he became a regular member of Congregation Shaarei Tzedec, one of the city’s oldest congegrations.
The authorities arrested him in October and had him extradited to New York in January. Admitting his guilt, David told Manhattan federal court judge Naomi Buchwald on Monday, “The documents were indeed fake and false, your honor.”
Earl David pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy and agreed to pay $2.5 million in forfeiture.
Prosecutors expressed that they would be recommending a sentence between six years and five months and eight years and three months for the repenting Rabbi.
David and his colleagues used to charge up to $30,000 for filing fake employment letters on behalf of illegal immigrants to mislead U.S. immigration authorities and convince the government that David’s clients were entering the country legally. The racket was run for about a decade from 1996 to 2006.
Writing under the name Earl Avraham David, the accused had authored aw book “Code of the Heart” in 2003 that claimed future events were predicted in the bible according to a hidden code. According to federal prosecutors, even after fleeing to Canada, the Rabbi continued to profit from his fraudulent schemes by using a bank account linked with his published book. He continued his fraudulent immigration practice even after being debarred from New York State since 2004.
Though, after being extradited in January, the Rabbi had pleaded innocence, the preponderance of evidence placed in front of him after extradition made him seek the truth on Monday.
Earl David has quite a checkered past and precedence of repenting in front of the court when caught. In early 1990s, he had saved his skin by helping the SEC and criminal authorities to convict 39 defendants who participated in a securities fraud, money laundering and bribery scheme along with him.
When the matter came up for hearing before a panel of judges in the appellate division of the New York State Supreme Court, the panel observed, “We are impressed by respondent’s evident rehabilitation in the more than 10 years since the misconduct took place, and by his expressions of remorse for his wrongdoing … During the intervening decade, respondent … has maintained an unblemished disciplinary record.” What the panel did not know of course was that the repentant ‘respondent’ was at the time heading a much more massive immigration fraud mill while maintaining an ‘unblemished’ record.