Suspended North Carolina attorney sentenced for visa fraud

March 19, 2022 GMT

NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) — A suspended North Carolina attorney has been sentenced to prison for continuing to submit documents for immigration benefits by impersonating another attorney, federal authorities said.

Roydera Hackworth, 63, was sentenced Friday to a year and one day in prison and two years of supervised release for fraud in connection with visas, permits and other documents, said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley in a news release.

Information from court documents showed that Hackworth was suspended in 2012 by the N.C. State Bar from practicing law. Two years later, she was suspended by the Board of Immigration Appeals from practicing in immigration matters before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

In 2019, evidence indicated Hackworth continued to practice, prepare, and submit petitions and applications on behalf of client petitioners and applicants for immigration benefits. A review by authorities showed that as many as 24 clients were represented by Hackworth with no knowledge that she was submitting their immigration petitions and applications under the name of another attorney.