A New York lawyer who supervised and participated in drafting false asylum applications for Chinese immigrants has been disbarred by the Appellate Division, First Department.
Fengling Liu’s name will be stricken from the attorney rolls because her federal felony conviction of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud is equivalent to the New York felony of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a First Department panel said Tuesday.
Consequently, her conviction is a proper predicate for automatic disbarment under Judiciary Law §90(4)(a) and (b), the panel said.
Liu, admitted in the Second Department in 2000 but who operated law firms in Manhattan’s Chinatown, was convicted in 2014 of helping to submit hundreds of fraudulent asylum applications to immigration officials.
She operated a Chinatown firm under the name of Law Offices of Feng Ling Liu, then later changed it to Moslemi and Associates Inc. Using the firms, she and co-conspirators created asylum applications containing false stories of persecution allegedly suffered by alien applicants, the panel said.
Justices David Friedman, John Sweeny, Richard Andrias, Judith Gische and Barbara Kapnick wrote that Liu’s conduct, as described through evidence and testimony in the trial record, when read in conjunction with the indictment upon which she was found guilty, corresponds to the New York false-instrument felony.
“The federal felony need not be a ‘mirror image’ of a New York felony, but must be ‘essentially similar,’” the panel wrote, quoting Matter of Margiotta.
Liu represented herself pro se in Matter of Fengling Liu, 2017 NY Slip Op. 05698. She is incarcerated and could not be reached for comment.