With all of the concern over illegal immigrants and Islamic extremists in this country, you’d think that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice might have a decent handle on what’s going on inside immigration court. But the strange tale of Leaford George Cameron shows us that this is probably not the case.
On Thursday, a federal grand jury in Philadelphia indicted the Jamaica-born 62-year-old Burlington, New Jersey, man who is accused of fraudulently posing as an attorney for 12 years. According to United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, Cameron’s client list included more than 70 people from the Philadelphia region, Florida, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Jamaica and India.
While his illegal fake law practice took on different types of cases — the indictment claims that he handled one parent’s child custody matter — prosecutors say that his primary focus was on immigration. And he didn’t just send out letters on his fake law firm letterhead (although the government claims that he did do that: His fake law firm letterhead included the fake names of his fake partners and fake suite numbers that all went to his single family home in Burlington).
No, Cameron actually showed up in court and represented his clients that had cases before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security. The cases also involved the Executive Office for Immigration Review, a branch of the Department of Justice.
According to the indictment, Cameron’s had various fake law firm names, including Cameron and Associates, P.C. and Bernstein, Cameron, Hamilton & Assoc., P.A., and he also claimed to have a satellite office on the Main Line in Ardmore. He signed his letters with an “Esquire,” and when it came time to send invoices to his clients, he’s alleged to have done so under the name Anne Marie Hyde from his fake law firm’s non-existent accounting department.
Prosecutors say that Cameron used actual attorneys’ Pennsylvania Attorney Identification Numbers when filing paperwork with the government.
But, hey, how could the court have possibly known that Cameron was a fake attorney? It’s not like he had ever been charged with doing the same thing before, right? Wrong. In 1992, Cameron was arrested in Bensalem after he racked up 36 clients. He eventually entered a guilty plea for theft by deception. And in 2014, Cameron entered a no contest plea in a similar case in Delaware County. The victim there said she met Cameron in church.
In the new case, Cameron has been charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and making false statements, all of which has a theoretical maximum sentence of 75 years in prison plus up to $1.5 million in fines.