NEW YORK (AP) — A Long Island-based attorney convicted of scamming illegal immigrants has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Thomas Archer also was ordered to pay $309,500 in restitution to 234 former clients. He and an assistant were convicted in March of visa fraud and conspiracy. The aide, Rukhsana Rafique, was sentenced to 18 months.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn say Archer submitted false legalization applications for more than 230 illegal immigrants. Each client paid between $1,500 and $2,500 for the services, but every one was rejected by the Department of Homeland Security.

Four former clients testified they knew they didn’t meet requirements for legalization but that applications were submitted anyway. When applicants were called for DHS interviews, they were instructed not to go and the attorney withdrew the paperwork.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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