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"Green card scam was run from law school"

It's certainly an embarrassment for Yale Law School: police say Ralph Cucciniello posed as a Yale lawprof specializing in immigration law in the course of scamming hundreds of illegal aliens of Irish origin into handing him $5,000 apiece in hopes of obtaining green cards. According to the Hartford Courant,

Law enforcement officials in New York and Connecticut are scrambling to find all his victims and answer a nagging question: How did a scam artist who once was in the federal witness protection program secure office space in one of the most prestigious law schools in the country, as well as a school identification card and e-mail address?

A further question suggests itself: is Yale open to suit on theories of "negligent security"? After all, it's hardly unusual for lawyers suing over frauds to name as defendants large businesses which unwittingly allowed their facilities and good offices to be employed in the fraudulent schemes. The theory will be that due attention to security would have denied an opening to the wrongdoers, thus sparing third parties financial injury. Does it make a difference that the victims were never clients or customers of Yale, even if they perhaps imagined they were, so that the university can disclaim any legal duty toward them? Or is the more important factor just that on a practical level still-illegal aliens are unlikely to be willing to lend their names as plaintiffs in such an action?



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.