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  1. #1
    Senior Member florgal's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    North Carolina

    Father and Son Charged with Fraud in Visa Applications

    Pembroke Pines father and son charged with fraud in visa applications
    By Ruth Morris | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
    August 30, 2007

    Authorities arrested a father-and-son team Wednesday and charged them with filing dozens of fraudulent visa applications, while collecting some $2 million in fees.

    The indictment alleges Enrique Santiago, 59, and his son Jason Santiago, 30, told customers they could obtain work visas, green cards and other immigration benefits, then submitted fraudulent petitions to federal authorities.

    According to the 11-count indictment, the two committed mail fraud, conspired to commit mail fraud, and made false statements on employment-based visa applications. If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison on the most serious charges, and receive fines of up to $250,000.

    The U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of Florida said the Santiagos lived in Pembroke Pines and operated a Broward County company called Universal Placement Services Inc. The two charged $5,000 per application, regardless of whether the applicants were eligible for the benefits they sought, or whether they had a U.S. employer sponsoring them, the indictment said.

    Prosecutors charged the Santiagos with mailing fraudulent I-140 and I-129 forms, which immigration authorities require of employers sponsoring foreign workers. They also lied about the educational background of applicants and the jobs they supposedly would hold in documents filed to the Labor Department, the U.S. Attorney's Office alleged in a statement. Non-citizens sponsored by U.S. employers must first obtain labor certification, which proves they are not taking a job from a U.S. worker.

    Prosecutors also said the suspects "falsely claimed that Universal Placement Services was capable of hiring and sustaining the employment of a large number of aliens."

    The United States issues 140,000 employment-based permanent resident cards, also known as green cards, every year. Demand is much higher than supply, however. Employers have also complained that other visa categories for temporary permission to work here are capped too low.

    The U.S. Attorney General's Office worked with tax authorities and the Labor Department to build its case against the Santiagos.

    Ruth Morris can be reached at rmorris or 305-810-5012. ... ?track=rss

  2. #2
    duplicate post: Please use search option before posting. ... roke+pines

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