Former Naples immigration lawyer indicted on visa fraud charges

Karen Caco faces up to 10 years in a federal prison if convicted on four visa fraud charges, five years for conspiracy to defraud the United States, and a $250,000 fine on each.

— A former Naples immigration attorney has been indicted on visa fraud and conspiracy charges, accusing her of forging letters and submitting fraudulent lease agreements and financial information to help six foreign nationals in Naples obtain permanent residency.

Miami attorney Karen Caco, who operated International Immigration Services PA on Pine Ridge Road, then Fifth Avenue South until last year, also is accused of lying about her own employment status to obtain permanent residency, a federal prosecutor told U.S. Magistrate Douglas Frazier on Tuesday in Fort Myers.

Caco, who was arrested Tuesday and released on $50,000 bond, faces up to 10 years in a federal prison if convicted on four visa fraud charges, five years for conspiracy to defraud the United States, and a $250,000 fine on each.

Linda Osberg-Braun, her attorney and law partner, called Caco "one of the finest immigration attorneys" she'd ever met.

"I look forward to helping her resolve these charges," said Osberg-Braun, who is helping Caco find a defense attorney here.

Caco denied involvement in a visa fraud scheme last August, when the Daily News called her about Flavia Marichal, a paralegal she'd once employed who later was sentenced to probation after agreeing to cooperate with federal agents.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Barclift declined Tuesday to comment, as is office policy.

State records show the businesses the immigrants supposedly worked for were set up by Caco and used her former law firm's addresses.

The indictment, handed up by a federal grand jury, involves foreign nationals, co-conspirators who obtained visas from 2005 to 2010. That enabled them to apply for permanent resident "green cards" after a year and to work here indefinitely.

The indictment gives this account:

The applicants said they had "specialty occupations," which require highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor's degree or equivalent in experience, or they had "extraordinary abilities" in science, arts, education or athletics. Others were "transferees" temporarily assigned to work for the same employer they'd worked for abroad in a management or executive capacity.

They presented false applications and documentation, including lease agreements, letters, financial statements, letters of support, and organizational charts to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and other agencies.

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