INDIANAPOLIS — A suburban Indianapolis lawyer who authorities say filed more than 250 false visa applications and collected about $750,000 in fraudulent fees has pleaded guilty in the case.

The Justice Department announced Thursday plea by 45-year-old Joel Paul of Fishers to charges including mail fraud, immigration document fraud and aggravated identity theft related to the fraudulent U visa applications.

The Associated Press sent an email seeking comment Friday to his lawyer. Sentencing is expected to take place early next year.

The U visa is a special category of visas granted to crime victims. According to the plea agreement, Paul admitted that from 2013 to 2017 he submitted the applications without his clients’ knowledge. Many applications falsely asserted they were crime victims and had helped investigators.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.