Defendant allegedly stole thousands of dollars from nine clients and continued to practice law despite being disbarred in New York state.

A Crown Heights attorney specializing in immigration cases has been charged with stealing from nine of his clients while continuing to practice law despite being disbarred in New York State.

“This defendant allegedly continued to practice law after being disbarred for misconduct and vulnerable immigrants sought his legal assistance,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. “Instead of helping them, he allegedly defrauded his clients out of tens of thousands of dollars. We have no tolerance for this kind of alleged conduct, and my office will now seek to hold him accountable.”

The defendant has been identified as Owolabi Salis, 60, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He has been charged with third-degree and fourth-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal contempt, first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree immigrant assistance services fraud and the unlawful practice of the law. The defendant was released without bail and ordered to return to court on October 11, 2023.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo said, “Despite his disbarment resulting from the filing of hundreds of fraudulent petitions aimed at securing benefits for non-citizen clients, Owolabi Salis allegedly persisted in deceitfully portraying himself as a practicing attorney. Exploiting the vulnerability of both his clients and the system, he callously manipulated them for personal gain. Salis’s utter disregard for the laws of New York State is both reprehensible and unacceptable. Even more distressing is his alleged exploitation of a system designed to enable non-citizens to lawfully remain in the United States.”

According to the investigation, the defendant was disbarred on November 29, 2022, following an investigation by New York’s Attorney Grievance Committee that found he had filed fraudulent and frivolous immigration petitions. The defendant was ordered to stop practicing law. He was further required to notify his clients that he had been disbarred and to advise them to obtain new counsel. However, it is alleged that the defendant violated the order and continued to operate a law office at 1179 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights while advertising “Salis Law P.C.” online.


Following a search of the defendant’s office on March 7, 2023, nine of his clients, all of whom were from the Dominican Republic, alleged that the defendant stole from them money in amounts ranging from $800 to $8,000.


People who believe they have been victimized by this defendant are encouraged to contact the District Attorney’s Action Center at 718-250-2340 or send an e-mail to [email protected].

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