A Canadian man authorities accused of running an immigration consulting scam they say conned foreign actors out of thousands of dollars pleaded no contest Jan. 18 to six counts in Los Angeles. Andrew Boryski was sentenced to one year in prison, but 185 days were stayed because he agreed to pay $37,000 in immediate restitution to nine victims. He was also ordered to shut down his company, Entertainment Immigration Consulting, and must pay restitution to any other victims that come forward by Feb. 21.
Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Mark Lambert, who prosecuted the case, said a 10th victim stepped forward after last week’s hearing and asked any other potential victims to contact his office.
Boryski, a Saskatchewan native, was originally charged with 32 misdemeanor counts, including three counts of grand theft, one count of practicing law without a license, and 28 counts of violating provisions of the Immigration Consultant Act. He pleaded no contest to three counts of grand theft and three counts of violating provisions of the Immigration Consultant Act.
“This outcome of this case was more than we could have asked for,” Lambert told Backstage. “We have made the point to anybody considering defrauding talent with an immigration scam that they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“We are extremely happy in the City Attorney’s Office to again help protect actors, and we’re thrilled we were able to get restitution.”
Boryski was arrested Jan. 9 by special agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations at the Los Angeles International Airport as he prepared to board a flight bound for Canada with a one-way ticket. He remained in custody until his first court appearance on Friday.
“Given the complexity of the case and also the exposure and the potential ramifications of what he could have been facing, I think it was a very fair and just resolution in this case,” Sean Tabibian, Boryski’s attorney, told Backstage. “He’s very remorseful for what transpired. His family has been very supportive in trying to get these victims made whole.”
After Boryski is released, “he could be subject to deportation, but I believe he’s going to voluntarily leave the U.S.,” Tabibian said.
The case was initiated after two Australian actors and a hairstylist from Ireland complained to the City Attorney’s Office about Boryski’s company. After receiving the complaints, city officials sought the feds’ assistance. The ensuing joint investigation took about three months to complete.
Olivia, one of the Australian actors, said she first became involved with Boryski in October 2011 after her then talent agent in Australia recommended him.
“She said he was a good person to get the O-1 visa off,” Olivia, who was in court on Jan. 18, told Backstage on the condition that only her first name be printed. “She organized a trip to come to L.A. with 15 of her actors, and we all did a workshop with him.”
After the workshop, Olivia paid Boryski $2,500 for help in attaining a visa. When, months later, Boryski became erratic and aggressive in his correspondence, the actor contacted attorneys. “A lot of people were telling me, ‘Just forget about it; the money’s gone,’ ” she said. But she persisted, and her inquiries led her to Lambert’s office. “He was the first person to take me serious when I contacted him,” she said.
Olivia is now living in Los Angeles and has gotten a visa that allows her to work. Boryski never filed immigration papers on her behalf. Had he done so, it would have been fraudulent and could have permanently damaged her prospects for getting a U.S. visa.
That sort of paperwork snafu troubles Lambert. “Our concern is that there might be people out there who had fraudulent documents unknowingly filed on their behalf,” he said.
Lambert said his office can help other victims get assistance sorting out any immigration mess caused by their dealings with Boryski.