Making Immigration Happen
Chicago Woman Arrested for Selling Fraudulent Identity Documents to Illegal Aliens
A woman was arrested Wednesday, February 13, 2013, on charges she allegedly sold fraudulent identity documents to illegal aliens. These charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigra

Tag Archives: immigration fraud

Georgia Native Arrested for Suspected Human Rights Violations

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested a suspected human rights violator Monday, September 24, 2012, who is charged with fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship.

Mladen Mitrovic, 52, of Loganville, Ga., was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge E. Clayton Scofield III on federal charges that he obtained his naturalized citizenship through fraudulent omissions about his background that related to his work as a Serbian concentration camp guard.

“The Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues to work with officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina to locate concentration camp guards who emigrated under false pretenses to the United States after the Bosnian War,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “This defendant will now have to face many of the former Bosnian Muslim prisoners who suffered at his hand in the Trnopolje Concentration Camp.”

“HSI special agents in Atlanta, working on a tip from our special agents in Portland, Ore., were able to identify Mr. Mitrovic as a potential human rights violator responsible for the alleged abuse and torture of Muslims and Catholics at the Trnopolje Concentration Camp,” said Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of HSI Atlanta. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia has shown great expertise in their aggressive prosecution of suspects accused of committing human rights violations abroad before immigrating to the United States under false pretenses.”

According to information presented in court, Mitrovic, a Bosnian native, applied to be naturalized as a United States citizen Oct. 3, 2002. In his naturalization application, Mitrovic allegedly failed to disclose that as a guard at a Serbian concentration camp during the Bosnian War, he persecuted people because of their religion, national origin and membership in a particular social group.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and automatic deportation upon the completion of a sentence of imprisonment. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding, but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center investigates human rights violators who try to evade justice by seeking shelter in the United States, including those who have participated in war crimes and acts of genocide, torture and extrajudicial killings. These individuals may use fraudulent identities to enter the country and attempt to blend into communities in the United States.

Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to call the toll-free HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or to complete its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

To learn more about the assistance available to victims in these cases, the public should contact ICE’s confidential victim-witness toll-free number at 1-866-872-4973. Tips may be provided anonymously.

Since fiscal year 2004, ICE has arrested more than 225 individuals for human rights-related violations under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders and physically removed more than 540 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Currently, HSI has more than 140 active investigations and ICE is pursuing more than 1,900 leads and removal cases involving suspected human rights violators from nearly 95 different countries.

Members of the public are reminded that a defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Nigerian Man Sentenced for Stealing Murder Victim’s Identity

A Nigerian man, who came to the U.S. in 1989 and assumed the identity of a murder victim to remain in the country illegally, has pleaded guilty to exhibiting a false government document. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Office of Inspector General, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police.

Bimbo Peter Oyewole, 54, of Elizabeth, N.J., pleaded guilty to the third-degree offense, before Superior Court Judge Peter V. Ryan in Essex County, N.J.

“Document fraud poses a significant threat to both national security and public safety,” said Andrew McLees, special agent in charge of HSI Newark. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and other critical infrastructures in protecting the American public.”

According to court documents, Oyewole admitted that he used the name, date of birth and Social Security number of a man named Jerry E. Thomas, who was murdered in Queens, N.Y., in 1992, to obtain an airport security ID card, called a Secure Identification Display Area Card (SIDA). Oyewole used the SIDA card as a supervisor for FJC Security Services, a private firm contracted to staff vehicle access gates and provide other security services at EWR. The card gave him access to secure areas, including the tarmac and airplanes.

“The Port Authority moved swiftly to arrest this defendant and remove him from his security position at the airport when they learned he was using a false identity,” said Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa. “My office, in turn, worked closely with the Port Authority’s Office of Inspector General, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the New York City Police to investigate him, ensure he was not a threat to national security, and prosecute him for his crime.”

“Whatever the motive, it’s a serious crime to falsify government documents, particularly when it involves identity theft and issues of public security,” said Stephen J. Taylor, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This defendant has rightly faced serious consequences. By the time he is sentenced, he will have spent roughly six months in custody and he will be a convicted felon.”

Port Authority Inspector General Robert E. Van Etten said, “Today’s conviction will serve notice to all that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will not tolerate fraud or any other criminal misconduct at its facilities. The Port Authority Office of Inspector General and its law enforcement partners will aggressively identify, investigate and bring to justice those who corrupt the integrity and security of our airports and facilities. I wish to thank the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and all of our law enforcement partners for their invaluable assistance, participation and contribution to this investigation.”

Oyewole entered the U.S. in January 1989 on a temporary work visa. He began using Jerry E. Thomas’ identity several weeks before Thomas was murdered on July 20, 1992. Thomas was shot outside a YMCA in Queens where he was staying. Oyewole used his identity to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license and high school equivalency diploma. He also obtained employment in Thomas’ name, holding security jobs at EWR under several private contractors.

Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Oyewole be sentenced to a term of probation. Oyewole is scheduled for sentencing October 19.

Oyewole came into ICE custody September 11 and is in removal proceedings. He is being detained in an ICE detention facility pending an immigration hearing before an immigration judge.

MVA Employee Enters Guilty Plea; Sold Fraudulent Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens

Michael Anthony Peters, Jr. 29, of Riverdale, Md. pleaded guilty Friday, September 7, 2012, to a conspiracy to produce and sell Maryland driver’s licenses without lawful authority. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).

“Michael Anthony Peters violated the public’s trust and risked endangering our community by producing and issuing Maryland driver’s licenses to individuals who could not or were not willing to legitimately pass the required MVA examination,” said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge William Winter. “This type of fraud poses a serious security vulnerability and could put the security of our communities and even our country at risk.”

According to his plea agreement, Peters was an employee of the MVA assigned to the Largo Branch. Peters’ duties included the issuance of Maryland driver’s licenses. Peters admitted that from July through October 2007, he received payment in exchange for producing and issuing Maryland driver’s licenses to individuals whom he knew had not passed the required tests. Many of these individuals were illegal aliens.

According to his plea agreement, Peters typically received approximately $300 as a bribe for each non-commercial driver’s license and $400 as a bribe for each commercial driver’s license he issued. Peters falsified MVA records to state that the applicants had passed the required tests and issued driver’s licenses in their names. Over the course of the conspiracy, Peters produced at least 40 driver’s licenses without lawful authority.

Peters faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 at his sentencing Dec. 18 before U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus. As part of his plea agreement, Peters will be required to pay restitution in the amount of $12,000.

The investigation was conducted by HSI Baltimore and the MVA Investigation and Security Services Division.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.

Criminal Alien Pleads Guilty to Immigration Fraud, Identity Theft of U.S. Citizen

A previously deported criminal alien pleaded guilty Thursday, September 6, 2012, in federal court to illegally voting in the 2008 presidential election using the name of a U.S. citizen whose identity he assumed more than two decades ago.

Ricardo Lopez-Munguia, 45, of Escondido, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of voter fraud, making a false claim to U.S. citizenship and illegal reentry after deportation. The charges are the result of a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Lopez faces a maximum penalty of 28 years in prison when he is sentenced November 19. Upon completion of his sentence, Lopez will be deported to Mexico.

As part of his guilty plea, Lopez admitted he was convicted of two drug trafficking offenses involving heroin in 1986. In 1987, an immigration judge ordered Lopez deported as an aggravated felon. Lopez admitted he subsequently assumed the identity of a U.S. citizen, which he used to illegally reenter the United States, obtain a Social Security card and a U.S. passport, and to vote.

“Our unique, broad authorities serve to protect the public from widespread exploitation by fraudsters who never seem to know when to quit,” said Derek Benner, special agent in charge for HSI San Diego. “Whether we’re protecting the integrity of the legal immigration system, rooting out voter fraud or uncovering identity theft, HSI is committed to aggressively investigating fraud that undermines our nation’s bedrock institutions.”

As part of a collaborative operation in July, officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection took Lopez into custody at the San Ysidro port of entry.

California Brothers Indicted for Producing Fraudulent Immigration Documents

Two Shasta County brothers were indicted Thursday, August 9, 2012, by a federal grand jury on charges of producing and selling false identification and immigration documents following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Sergio Alonso Madrigal-Felix, 32, of Redding, Calif., and Mario Alfonso Madrigal-Felix, 36, of Anderson, Calif., are also accused of possessing document making equipment and materials. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hales and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele M. Beckwith.

According to court documents, the brothers sold counterfeit document sets for $150 each that included an alien registration card or “green card” and a Social Security card with a false number. An undercover HSI special agent purchased three sets on March 22 for three fictitious people. Four more sets were purchased from the defendants on two other occasions. A search warrant was issued and agents seized document-making equipment, including a laptop, printer and laminator.

“Targeting schemes like this that enable individuals who aren’t in this country lawfully to obtain legitimate identity documents is a top enforcement priority for ICE HSI,” said Jason Graham, resident agent in charge for HSI Redding. “Those who engage in this type of fraud are putting the security of our communities and even our country at risk. Schemes like this could potentially be exploited by dangerous criminals and others seeking to obscure their identities and mask their motives.”

The defendants have been in custody since their arrest and initial court appearance July 27. They are scheduled to be arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan Aug. 10. If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum statutory penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.

Three Men Arrested for Immigration Document Fraud

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents along with the Somerset County Prosecutors Office (SCPO) and Raritan Borough Police Department arrested three men Monday, July 30, 2012, for manufacturing and possessing fraudulent government documents.

In February, HSI special agents informed SCPO detectives that Michael Arias, 31, of Raritan, N.J., was allegedly manufacturing fraudulent government documents.

In April, HSI special agents, along with SCPO detectives, conducted an undercover operation at Arias’ residence for the purpose of purchasing fraudulent U.S. government documents. A subsequent meeting occurred in July. During the undercover meeting, a fraudulent U.S. Permanent Resident Card, a fraudulent U.S. Social Security card and a fraudulent Department of Homeland Security Employment Authorization card were purchased from Arias.

On July 30, special agents and officers executed a search warrant at Arias’ residence. The search resulted in the seizure of a computer, printer, laminator, numerous government identification cards and other items that are utilized in the manufacturing of fraudulent government documents. During the execution of the search warrant, Michael Delgado Sibaja, 25, of Raritan, N.J., and Fernando Valencia Alvarado, 42, of Somerville, N.J., were present and found to be in possession of fraudulent government documents.

Arias was arrested and charged with manufacturing false government documents, trafficking in personal identification information, and forgery. Sibaja and Alvarado were both arrested and charged with possession of fraudulent government documents.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Former Army Translator Re-Sentenced for Immigration Fraud

A U.S. Army contract translator was re-sentenced Wednesday, August 2, 2012, for illegally possessing national defense documents, and using a false identity to procure his U.S. citizenship and gain access to classified military materials. This is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), FBI and the New York City Police Department, with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Defense.

On May 19, 2008, the defendant was originally sentenced to 121 months in prison. That sentence was later reversed on appeal due to an error in the calculation of the advisory U.S. sentencing guidelines range. The case was then remanded for resentencing, and the judge in the case then imposed an above-guidelines sentence.

On Feb. 14, 2007, the defendant, whose true identity is still unknown and who goes by various names, including Abdulhakeem Nour, Abu Hakim, Noureddine Malki, Almaliki Nour, and Almalik Nour Eddin, pleaded guilty to the unauthorized possession of classified documents. On Dec. 20, 2005, the defendant pleaded guilty to the false identity charge.

In August 2003, the defendant used a false identity to apply for and gain a position as an Arabic translator for L-3 Titan Corporation, a company which provides translation services in Iraq for U.S. military personnel. He then used the same false identity to fraudulently obtain Secret and then Top Secret security clearances.

Subsequently, during assignments in Iraq, the defendant took classified documents from the U.S. Army without authorization. While assigned to an intelligence group in the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army at Al Taqqadam Air Base, he downloaded a classified electronic document and took hard copies of several other classified documents. The documents detailed the 82nd Airborne’s mission in Iraq in regard to insurgent activity, such as coordinates of insurgent locations, upon which the U.S. Army was preparing to fire in January 2004, and U.S. Army plans for protecting Sunni Iraqis traveling on their pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in late January 2004.

During a later deployment to a U.S. Army base near Najaf, Iraq, the defendant obtained a photograph of a classified battle map identifying U.S. troop routes used in August 2004 during the battle of Najaf, where the U.S. and Iraqi security forces sustained serious casualties. In September 2005, the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force recovered these classified documents during a search of the defendant’s Brooklyn apartment. One of the documents remains classified and therefore is not described here. In connection with the re-sentencing, the court found that the defendant had intentionally taken the classified materials that were later found in his possession.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Multi-Million Customs Fraud Ring Busted

The president of the San Diego Customs Brokers Association, along with three international trade companies and seven other individual co-conspirators, are facing federal charges following a probe targeting a multi-million dollar customs fraud scheme inSouthern California. The charges are a culmination of a year-long investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). HSI received substantial assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

To date, this investigation has identified more than 90 commercial shipments from several countries. The estimated value of these shipments is valued at more than $100 million.

Three of the defendants, including Gerard Chavez, 42, the president of the San Diego Customs Brokers Association, were taken into custody by HSI special agents early Wednesday, July 25, 2012.

A 56-count criminal complaint accuses the 11 defendants in Southern California and Tijuana, Mexico, of orchestrating a lucrative customs fraud scheme that resulted in more than $10 million in lost customs duties, taxes and other revenue. The criminal charges include conspiracy to defraud the United States, falsely bringing in foods and obstruction of justice. These charges carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.

“This investigation pulled back the curtain on a potentially costly fraud scheme operating in one of the world’s busiest commercial centers,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Instead, HSI, aided by our law enforcement partners, exposed and dismantled this criminal ring and now those responsible will be held accountable.”

“Every day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials work to protect the United States and interdict fraudulent goods from entering the country,” said CBP Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar. “I commend the work of our officers for their instinct and diligence, and recognize the seamless coordination across government agencies. Joint efforts such as this are crucial to maintaining our nation’s economic security and competitiveness.”

According to the court documents, the defendants operated a ring and devised an elaborate scheme to exploit the in-bond import process, a routine feature of international trade that provides for duty-free importations on goods that do not formally enter into U.S. commerce.

As part of their scheme, Chavez and others procured foreign goods such as apparel made in China and cigarettes made in India that were shipped via ocean to the Port of Long Beach, Calif. They are accused of falsely generating paperwork and electronic entries into a government database to make it appear the shipments would be transshipped to Mexico, therefore not enter into U.S. commerce. Instead of transshipping the goods to Mexico, the defendants allegedly hired drivers to deliver them to warehouses in Southern California where they were eventually sold in the U.S. market. Chavez and others allegedly forged U.S. customs certifications to make it appear the shipments went to Mexico.

It is alleged one of Chavez’s customers, Sunil Mirwani, a 36-year-old importer who was taken into custody Wednesday, July 25, 2012, by HSI special agents, received dozens of shipments of illegally imported Chinese-made apparel at Los Angeles-area warehouses.

Mirwani marketed and sold the apparel using his Los Angeles-based import company, M Trade Inc., which is also a defendant in the case. Similarly, other defendants distributed various shipments of illegally imported cigarettes to warehouses, self-storage units and residences throughout Southern California.

A third defendant, Carlos Medina, 34, of Chula Vista, Calif., was also taken into custody Wednesday, July 25, 2012. Medina allegedly hired truck drivers and coordinated the delivery of illegally imported goods.

The other defendants charged in the fraud scheme case are:

  • Rene Trahin, 32, of San Diego, who allegedly distributed illegally imported cigarettes to warehouses, self-storage units and residences throughout Southern California. She is being sought by law enforcement.
  • Joel Varela Gonzalez, 32, of Tijuana, who allegedly used Chavez’s broker’s license to facilitate fraudulent shipments. He also allegedly conspired with others to cover up the shipments linked to salmonella and prohibited dye. He also allegedly forged certifications on shipments. He is being sought by law enforcement.
  • Elizabeth Sandoval, 50, of San Diego, allegedly conspired with others to mislabel foods that contained prohibited dye. She is being sought by law enforcement.
  • Enrique Perez Soltero, 39, allegedly facilitated the laundering of illicit proceeds linked to the fraud. He is being sought by law enforcement.
  • Juan Porter, 58, of Tijuana, allegedly managed a local trucking company that assisted in the diversion of cigarettes. He is being sought by law enforcement.
  • Tecate Logistics LLC, one of Chavez’s companies allegedly used in the fraudulent trade activity. The company operates as a small contract trucking and hauling service.
  • International Trade Consultants LLC, one of Chavez’s companies allegedly linked to the criminal activity.

During the investigations, law enforcement uncovered shipments of produce linked to the defendants that were infected by salmonella, a potentially life-threatening bacterium. In at least one of those shipments, several defendants acted to evade future inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of prickly pear cactus they were importing. They also allegedly conspired to mislabel Mexican snack foods that contained a prohibited dye.

Investigators say in addition to depriving the United States of the customs duties owed on the diverted shipments, the defendants also harmed lawful domestic businesses. By exploiting the in-bond process, the defendants imported duty-free goods, which were sold at cheaper prices, undercutting American manufacturers and hindering the U.S. economy.

Mass. RMV Worker Charged with Extensive Document Fraud

An employee of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles was charged Wednesday, July 18, 2012, with producing false driver’s licenses. The charge is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Vanessa Peguero, 27, of Leominster, Mass., was charged with producing a false identification document. It is alleged that from February 2010 through June 2012, Peguero issued Massachusetts’ driver’s licenses to individuals who presented legitimate Puerto Rican identity documents in an identity other than their own. This was done in order to obtain Massachusetts’ driver’s licenses to conceal their true identities.

If convicted on these charges, Peguero faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

“Fraudulent documents give people the appearance of lawful immigration statuses and provides them with countless opportunities to which they are not entitled,” said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. “Anyone who fraudulently obtains a genuine government ID may pose a threat to public safety. This type of criminal activity allows dangerous criminals to obscure their identities and cover their tracks. Given the potential national security and public safety implications – since this type of crime often allows individuals who may not be in this country lawfully to obtain legitimate U.S. identity documents – Homeland Security Investigations, along with our law enforcement partners in Massachusetts, will continue to aggressively target those participating in or facilitating these types of crimes.”

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, District of Massachusetts, and Special Agent in Charge Foucart made the announcement July 18.

HSI places a high priority on investigating document and benefit fraud. These types of fraud pose a severe threat to national security and public safety because they create a vulnerability that may enable terrorists, criminals and illegal aliens to gain entry to and remain in the United States. Document and benefit fraud are elements of many immigration-related crimes, such as human smuggling and human trafficking, critical infrastructure protection, worksite enforcement, visa compliance enforcement and national security investigations. Document fraud, also known as identity fraud, is the manufacturing, counterfeiting, alteration, sale, and/or use of identity documents and other fraudulent documents to circumvent immigration laws or for other criminal activity. Identity fraud in some cases also involves identity theft, a crime in which an imposter takes on the identity of a real person (living or deceased) for some illegal purpose.

HSI’s Identity and Benefit Fraud Unit is charged with investigating and disrupting document and benefit fraud schemes. It coordinates its investigative efforts with other U.S. Department of Homeland Security components, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as other federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Labor. The unit also develops and advances policy initiatives and proposes legislative changes to address vulnerabilities in the immigration process to deter fraud and reduce the incentives for committing document and benefit fraud.

One of the fundamental challenges in combating document fraud at state-level department of motor vehicle (DMV) locations is the identification of employee misconduct. In order to enhance identification efforts, HSI developed an outreach campaign to raise awareness about employee misconduct and alert law enforcement to identity and benefit fraud schemes perpetrated at DMV facilities. HSI encourages the public and DMV employees to report corruption via the HIS tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE and via local DMV tip lines. Reporting this crime gives the public and employees an opportunity to be a part of the solution.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia M. Carris.

The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Man Deported to India for Immigration Fraud; Felony Charges

A citizen of India who fled the United States to avoid spending more than three years in prison following a federal immigration fraud conviction was extradited from India on Thursday, July 5, 2012, to face the punishment for his crimes, announced District of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. The investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) led to the arrest and extradition.

Naranjan Patel, 53, formerly of South Plainfield, N.J., was convicted in June 2007 for helping ineligible aliens fraudulently file for legal residency to remain in the United States. Patel was found guilty following a jury trial of both counts of the indictment against him; one count of conspiring with others to defraud the United States and one count of submitting false immigration documents to immigration officials.

U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden sentenced Patel in October 2007 to 37 months in prison, ordering him to begin serving his sentence as directed by the Bureau of Prisons. Less than a week before his surrender date of Nov. 23, 2007, Patel fled the United States for India.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Between September 2004 and February 2006, Patel conspired with Jonathan Saint Preux and his wife Michele Saint Preux to file fraudulent immigration applications on behalf of hundreds of illegal aliens who were seeking permanent residency status in the United States under a government sponsored amnesty program. The program allowed aliens to eventually seek permanent residency status if they could demonstrate they had illegally resided in the United States continuously between 1982 and 1988.

Patel and his co-conspirators helped aliens who did not meet these requirements file immigration forms which fraudulently represented that they did. The conspirators also coached the applicants on what to say during interviews with immigration officials.

During the conspiracy, co-conspirator Jonathan Saint Preux was an attorney specializing in immigration law, with an office in Irvington, N.J. Patel’s primary role in the conspiracy was to recruit alien applicants, but he also helped Jonathan Saint Preux and Michele Saint Preux file fraudulent applications and coach the applicants. The law offices of Jonathan Saint Preux received thousands of dollars in exchange for their services.

Patel will now begin serving the 37-month sentence imposed for those crimes.

Jonathan Saint Preux and Michele Saint Preux pleaded guilty in April 2007 to submitting false immigration documents to immigration officials. Jonathan Saint Preux was subsequently sentenced to 57 months in prison. Michele Saint Preux, who served as her husband’s office manager, was sentenced to a five-year term of probation.

The Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, under the direction of New Jersey District Director John E. Thompson, played key roles in the extradition process.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronnell L. Wilson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division inNewark.