Lawyer-turned-rabbi Disbarred After Admitting to Massive Fraud

Prosecutors say Earl David netted millions of dollars from fraud.

Attorney-turned-rabbi Earl David has been disbarred, six months after pleading guilty to running a multimillion-dollar immigration fraud mill through a New York law firm.

David fled to Canada in 2006 when he learned his company, the David Firm in Manhattan, was under investigation, authorities said. The dual-Canadian-U.S. citizen was arrested last year in Canada and extradited in January to face federal charges in New York.

David agreed to forfeit $2.5 million when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud charges in April. He has not yet been sentenced.

The disciplinary committee of the First Department, Appellate Division, disbarred him retroactively to April, according to a decision released Thursday.

Prosecutors said David and others charged up to $30,000 to file fake employment letters on behalf of illegal immigrants, beginning in 1996.

In 2003, writing under the name Earl Avraham David, he wrote "Code of the Heart," a treatise on Hebrew numerology that claimed to reveal predictions of the future based on a hidden code in the Bible.

Prosecutors said he used a bank account in the name of the book to continue to profit from the fraud.

David, whose firm prosecutors said netted millions of dollars from the fraud, was suspended from practicing law in 2004. But prosecutors said he continued to run the scheme, even after fleeing to Canada, where he became a regular member of a small Orthodox temple in Toronto.

David had previously participated in a separate securities fraud, money-laundering and bribery scheme in the early 1990s but agreed at the time to testify for the prosecution, helping the Securities and Exchange Commission and criminal authorities convict nearly 40 defendants.

He was suspended for 15 months for that conduct, after a panel of judges at the First Department credited him with his efforts on behalf of the government, even as he had already begun operating the immigration scheme, prosecutors said.

David did not oppose the disbarment, according to his lawyer, Avraham Moskowitz.