giovedì 17 febbraio 2011
Wikileaks : Viewing cable 09MEXICO944, FRAUD SUMMARY - EMBASSY MEXICO CITY
17 Febbraio 2011
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 MEXICO 000944
DEPT FOR CA/FPP
POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION MANAGERS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRD CVIS CPAS CMGT ASEC MX
SUBJECT: FRAUD SUMMARY - EMBASSY MEXICO CITY
REF: A) MEXICO 398 B) MEXICO 1296
¶1. SUMMARY: During the six months from September 2008 to February
2009, Embassy Mexico City's Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU) focused on
the detection of fraudulent documents, the identification of
prominent purveyors of fraudulent materials, and training in fraud
detection and interviewing techniques in order to decrease the
likelihood that mala fide travelers gain access to the United
States. END SUMMARY.
EMBASSY MEXICO CITY FRAUD CONDITIONS
¶2. High poverty and limited economic opportunities in Mexico make
the prospect of living and working in the United States, legally or
illegally, very attractive to many Mexicans and third country
nationals (TCNs) in Embassy Mexico City's consular district.
Fraudulent Mexican identity documents and employment documents are
relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain. Numerous "coyotes" are
readily available to provide their services - sometimes at an
exorbitant cost to applicants. Fraudulent Consular Reports of Birth
Abroad (CRBAs) and passport applications are a continuing problem.
As a result, fraud is considered medium-to-high at post.
¶3. As one of the busiest Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV) units in the
world, Mexico City processes between 1,500-2,000 visas on a daily
basis. As such, officers routinely encounter fraudulent documents.
In order to demonstrate strong ties to Mexico and to overcome the
presumption of immigrant intent under Section 214(B) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), applicants frequently present
various fraudulent documents, to include employment documents, bank
statements, professional credentials, and even legal identification.
In this reporting period FPU has seen various fraudulent employment
and business documentation, as well as genuine identity documents
with false information.
¶4. At least one FPU investigator is stationed in the NIV unit at
all times, to answer factual questions about Mexico, check possibly
fraudulent documents, ask several quick questions of an applicant,
or to conduct a more extensive investigation into a suspect case.
In certain visa classes, FPU pre-screens companies and applicants.
¶5. In cases that cannot be quickly resolved, NIV officers and
investigators have found the "Refer to FPU" function an effective
tool in combating fraud. After the officer refers the case in the
NIV system, the FPU investigator conducts an investigation, enters
case notes, and then passes the case back to the officer to
adjudicate. This process adds to efficiency and accountability.
Total Cases referred to fraud - 298
Cases confirmed fraudulent - 129
Cases no fraud found - 167
Pending investigations - 2
FPU also handled 2,576 minor NIV cases this reporting period.
¶6. This post encounters fraud in virtually all visa classes. The
most prevalent types of fraud are detailed below.
a. TOURIST AND BUSINESS VISAS: On occasion, the fraudulent
documents and questionable stories officers come across on the visa
line lead to FPU investigations that uncover a higher, and at times
more sophisticated level of fraud. Many of these cases are part of
several wide-spread fraud trends that FPU repeatedly encounters.
i. "COYOTES": FPU carefully monitors the activities of "coyotes,"
individuals and businesses that often offer "guaranteed" visa
issuances to their clients. Through painstaking record-keeping and
surveillance of these agents, who often accompany their clients to
the Embassy and wait for them outside, FPU has been successful in
discovering their methods and building cases against them. When
possible, FPU will take aside applicants using the services of a
coyote and interview them separately in order to ascertain how much
they paid the coyote, what promises the coyote made, and if the
coyote supplied the applicant with fraudulent documents and coaching
for the interview. As a result of the information gathered through
such investigations, a number of coyotes have had their visas
revoked under Section 212(a)(6)(E) of the INA and some have been
turned over to the Mexican legal authorities.
ii. "CONSULTANCY" SERVICES: In a recent case, FPU investigated a
local business purporting to assist Mexicans interested in applying
for Nonimmigrant Visas. The business had its main office in the
Sheraton Hotel next door to the Embassy. Using text search, FPU
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linked the owners to 10 cases in which fraudulent employment
documentation had been presented. Former clients provided sworn
affidavits stating that they had been charged upwards of 18,000
Mexican pesos (approximately 1,228 USD) for fraudulent employment
packages, which FPU used to support a revocation of the business
owners' visas under INA Section 212(a)(6)(E).
Undeterred, the business owners are in the process of moving their
business to a street behind the Embassy. FPU has documented several
recent cases in which the owners charge the equivalent of 250USD in
order to schedule an electronic U.S. passport appointment. In at
least one case, the business has refused to return U.S. birth
documents to their client unless they are paid a large sum. FPU is
currently working with Regional Security Office (RSO) and the local
Mexican authorities to prosecute the business owners.
iii. VISAS FOR RENT: Recently, post has identified a fraud trend
that involves teachers "renting" their visas to friends or
acquaintances, who are also often teachers or posing as such. In
one case, the officer noticed that the male applicant was 11 years
younger than his purported wife, a rare occurrence in Mexico. The
applicant presented his genuine school teacher credentials, the visa
of his supposed wife, and a fraudulent marriage certificate. The
applicant admitted to FPU that he had paid a coyote 5,000MXP
(approximately 400USD) for the fraudulent package, and he was to pay
5,000MXP more if the visa was issued. The woman who "rented" her
visa had her visa revoked under INA Section 212(a)(6)(E).
iv. SINGLE PARENT PRESENCE AT MINOR'S PASSPORT ISSUANCE: The
consular section continues to monitor closely any case involving a
minor with the code "4.1" in his/her passport. FPU previously
convinced Mexican passport officials to include this code to
indicate when parental permission to issue a passport was given from
abroad. 90 to 95% of these types of cases involve a minor with one
parent living illegally in the U.S. In a recent FPU visit to the
Civil Registry in the state of Michoacn - the largest immigrant
sending state in Mexico - FPU was informed that a full 30% of minors
applying for passports have a parent living abroad.
v. ADOPTIONS "A LA MEXICANA": FPU often encounters cases that
involve a particularly Mexican phenomenon: adoptions "a la
Mexicana." In these cases the biological mother informally agrees
to give (or sell) her child to an interested third party, usually an
acquaintance or a family member, thus circumventing adoption law.
Often the receiving party has been unable to bear children, or
simply wants to assist a friend who is otherwise unable or unwilling
to care for the child.
In a recent case on the visa line, a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR)
mother applied for an NIV for her newborn. After noting the 4.1
code in the child's passport, the officer was told by the mother
that she and her LPR husband live in Los Angeles, CA but that she
returned to Mexico to give birth. This unusual story, coupled with
the fact that the mother would have been forty-seven years old at
the time of birth and had no other children, prompted the officer to
refer the case to FPU. The woman admitted that her cousin had put
her in touch with a woman who was considering an abortion, as she
had conceived while her husband was living in the U.S. The woman
enlisted the help of a doctor in Michoacn to ensure that her name
was on the birth documentation. The child was refused 214(b) and
the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at post was alerted to the
b. GROUP INTERVIEWS: FPU Mexico City continues to closely monitor
applicants who apply in groups. There appears to be a widely-held
belief in Mexico that such visas are easier to obtain than those
that are applied for individually. Once NIV has scheduled an
appointment for a group (groups may include municipal employees,
school groups, athletes, etc.), the case is sent to FPU. Family
members are not accepted as part of the group unless they can prove
their presence is absolutely necessary to the group. In groups with
young children, however, this rule is relaxed to take into account
their special circumstances.
For all groups, an FPU investigator assesses the proposed trip and
runs the names through CCD. If the group seems to be legitimate, the
applicants will continue with their interview as usual. If FPU has
suspicions about a particular group or individual, FPU alerts one of
the three officers who conduct group interviews. The officer then
refers the entire group to FPU after enrollment where an
investigator interviews members of the group to determine the
existence of fraud.
Currently the NIV unit in Mexico City is working to schedule all
group appointments through Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) in
partnership with Teletech (an appointment call center) - as most
other visa appointments are scheduled. FPU has ensured that all the
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information used in the pre-screening process will still be readily
accessible to investigators.
The most common fraud found in groups occurs when applicants who are
not legitimate members of the group pose as such. This phenomenon
is particularly common with student groups (siblings or children of
teachers being added as "students" when they do not attend the
school) and cultural groups (non-performers who are friends of the
director or legitimate member). In one recent case, a group of 10
and 11 year olds was traveling to Texas to play in a football match.
However, the consular officer noted that one of the children was
considerably older than the rest of the group members. After
questioning, the coach admitted that the applicant was not a
legitimate team member but actually a brother of another player. In
an interesting twist, the coach had an IAFIS hit from 2003 for
theft. Given serious doubts on the ultimate motives and credibility
of the coach, the entire team was refused under INA Section 214(b).
c. EMPLOYMENT VISAS: Mexico City interviews applicants in almost
all employment visa categories. The types of prevalent fraud vary
by visa class.
i. E VISAS: Generally speaking, E visas are not a large source of
fraud. The most common type of fraud occurs when an applicant has
abused his tourist visa prior to requesting E status. In one recent
case a family of four applied for E-2 visas. The father had
established a school in Illinois several years before, and said that
he had been traveling between Mexico and the U.S. on his tourist
visa while managing the school. He said that the rest of his family
had been living in Mexico, and that they had last visited the U.S.
several months earlier. The son's fingerprints, however, revealed
that he had been arrested for underage drinking in Illinois only
weeks before the interview. The father and son confessed that they
had been living in the U.S. for the past six months, and that the
son had enrolled in school. The officer refused the family's
application for E visas, and revoked the tourist visas of the father
ii. H1B AND L VISAS: Though H1B and L visa approval rates are very
high, Mexico City has persistent fraud problems in these categories.
Most of the fraud arises from the fact that many of the applicants
are looking for a way to immigrate to the U.S. While dual intent is
allowed in these visa categories, the most common forms of fraud
arise when the applicant's sole intention is to reside in the U.S.
permanently. Applicants will overstate experience, education, or
future job responsibilities in efforts to bolster their
applications. They will also misrepresent previous employment to
conceal periods of illegal presence in the U.S. and/or to hide the
fact that - for L visas - they do not have the requisite one year of
work abroad in the previous three years. Individuals may also set
up shell companies as a means to live in the U.S. The most common
false documents presented at the interview or in petition packages
submitted to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS) are false pay receipts. On occasion, applicants present
false educational or professional credentials.
In a recent case, a family with a one-year L-1 "new office" visa was
refused a renewal visa as the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) field
research cast serious doubts on their business activity. The
applicants were unable to physically describe their purported office
building and there were many inconsistencies in their business
registration. The officer refused the cases under INA Section
221(g) and submitted a petition revocation to USCIS.
iii. H2B VISAS: FPU works closely with the groups team in
processing H2B applicants. Prior to the interview, the Fraud
Prevention Manager (FPM) vets petitioning companies by checking PIMS
for adverse field memos, verifying employer location using
LexisNexis, and by consulting the H2B watchlist of fraudulent
companies that is published by the Consulate General in Monterrey.
The H2B-dedicated investigator conducts text searches in the
Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) to ascertain whether the
petitioning company has applied at other consulates. If any adverse
information is found at this stage it is sent to the H2B
adjudicating officers for their review. Additionally, on the day of
the interview the investigator pre-screens the applicants by
conducting spot "pre-interviews." If fraud is suspected, the
investigator will work with the officer to offer support during the
There are two major areas of fraud consistently encountered in H2B
applications. The first concerns prior illegal presence in the U.S.
that an applicant refuses to disclose. IDENT and IAFIS results
often tell a different story than what the applicant reports.
Officers have noticed a recent trend in which applicants with years
of H2B visa experience attempt to cross illegally in between
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applications. Many of these applicants report that they feared that
they would be unable to secure a petition in the future, given
concerns over the future of the H2B program coupled with fears about
The second major area of fraud occurs when an applicant has misused
a prior visa by working for a different company. Post has noticed a
recent related trend in which companies no longer able to petition
for workers or who have had fraud issues in the past enlist the help
of partner or shell companies to petition for workers who will in
reality work for the first company upon arrival. In a recent case,
a large proportion of almost one hundred workers who had been
previously refused under INA Section 221(g) at the Consulate General
in Monterrey applied at Mexico City. After liaising with Monterrey
on the case, post discovered that the workers had been petitioned by
a hospitality company that was in fact a shell for a company with an
extensive history of fraud problems. The otherwise qualified
applicants were refused under INA Section 221(g) pending a review of
With the support of H and L funds, FPU engages in various outreach
initiatives in order to educate the Mexican public on the H2
program, with an end goal of debunking myths and protecting workers'
rights. Recently, two FPU investigators traveled to the state of
Michoacn where they presented on the H2B program at a workshop on
migration issues sponsored by the Mexican Immigration Secretariat.
Over 120 people attended, with participants from 90 municipalities
(mostly former migrants and/or LPRs) as well as representatives from
other Mexican government agencies and U.S. law firms.
iv. PERFORMER VISAS: There are generally two kinds of performer
visa fraud - fraudulent applicants (usually hidden within a
legitimate group) and applicants who previously abused their tourist
visas by performing without a P1 visa. As with other group visa
applications, FPU vets P1 applicants prior to the interview.
In a recent musical group case an applicant applied for a P-1 visa
as a road manager. An IAFIS hit revealed that the applicant was
arrested for forgery in 2007. When questioned, the applicant denied
he had ever been to the U.S. However, the applicant's passport
indicated that he had just returned the day before from overseas.
Finally, the applicant confessed that he was not part of the musical
group and was really just a friend of one of the artists. The
applicant was refused under INA Section 9(B)(2).
v. RELIGIOUS VISAS: Before the advent of the petition-based R
visa, fraud was commonly encountered. Drawing on specialized
knowledge, FPU investigators are able to recognize fraudulent
religious credentials and have on occasion discovered completely
fake ministers, priests, and nuns.
In recent months, officers have interviewed applicants with approved
petitions - all of whom have been well qualified. R officers
received training on religious workers from the Church of Latter Day
Saints - a denomination that sends many applicants to the U.S. With
this training, the officers are now more confident in their
vi. TN (NAFTA) VISAS: Most TN visa fraud cases involve applicants
who present fake "cedulas profesionales" (legal proof of a
professional degree), have overstayed their tourist or other visas
in the past, and/or whose job duties differ greatly from those
listed on the job letter.
Mexico City requires all TN applicants who are applying for
professional employment that requires a four-year degree (per
Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA) to present a "cedula profesional." The
ability of consular officers to verify the authenticity of "cedulas
profesionales" on Mexico's Education Secretariat's website has
proven invaluable in detecting fraud.
Some TN applicants have flagrantly overstayed their visas in the
past. There have been several families who had been working and/or
going to public school on tourist visas who then attempted to get a
TN visa to regularize their status.
One major problem concerns discrepancies between the real job duties
and the job duties stated in the job offer letter. Applicants
either exaggerate the scope of their responsibilities or completely
fabricate their duties in order to make them "fit" more easily
within a TN profession. Given that there are only two categories of
TN jobs - Scientific Technician and Management Consultant - that do
not require a "cedula profesional," FPU has noticed that many
applicants who are not professionally titled often misrepresent
their job duties in order to qualify under one of these two
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¶7. Mexico City does not process immigrant visas.
¶8. Mexico City does not process diversity visas.
ACS AND U.S. PASSPORT FRAUD
¶9. Mexico City FPU investigated 86 passport and CRBA cases during
this reporting period (49 major, 18 minor), as well as 19 other
American Citizen Services (ACS) cases (most often LexisNexis
searches to locate next of kin).
¶10. With the implementation of the air phase of the Western
Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), the ACS unit saw a significant
increase in passport applications. As the June 1, 2009
implementation date for the land and sea phase of WHTI draws near,
post expected a similar up tick in passport demand, given that land
travel is often the preferred method of entering the U.S. from
Mexico. However, in recent months passport applications slowed and
are now just beginning to increase. To date, the bulk of the
passport application demand consists of minor children who have
traveled to Mexico from the U.S. without travel documentation.
These children have often been sent back to Mexico by parents who,
documented or not, remain in the U.S. to work. Many of these
children return at a very young age, often only days old, which
precludes the existence of any U.S.-based documentation other than a
birth certificate. Passport officers are insistent on seeing as
much documentation surrounding the pre-natal care and birth of these
children in the United States as possible before approving such
¶11. A further complicating factor in these cases is that often the
U.S.-born child will later obtain a birth certificate in Mexico, as
many schools require Mexican birth registration in order to enroll.
This phenomenon leads to many inquiries from USCIS adjudicators in
the U.S. who have questions about these seemingly fraudulent double
birth registrations. FPU verifies that the Mexican birth
registration occurred after the U.S. birth certificate was issued by
liaising with local civil registry contacts.
¶12. When post encounters a midwife instead of a doctor on a U.S.
birth certificate, the officer consults the electronic Suspect Birth
Attendant (SBA) List found in the Fraud Library section of PLOTS.
Regardless of whether the midwife is on the list, the officer will
often ask for extensive documentation of the birth. However, such
cases often occur many years after the fact, and the documentation
may be inconclusive. In these cases, FPU works to resolve the case
at post through targeted interviews with the parents.
¶13. Post continues to see cases in which individuals apply for
passports and/or CRBAs for minors who are not their biological
children. In a recent case, a naturalized Philippine mother and a
Mexican LPR father who normally reside in CA applied for a CRBA and
passport for their four-year old son. They stated that their son
was born in Mexico and presented a Mexican birth certificate. After
questioning, the parents admitted that the child was in fact not
their biological son and that he was sold to them for 2,000USD by a
friend who was planning on having an abortion. They stated that
they collected the child at a hospital in Sacramento, CA and had not
seen the birth mother since and thus had no U.S. birth documentation
for him. They acquired a report of birth from a hospital in
Michoacn and then applied for a Mexican birth certificate, for
which they paid 1,100 MXP (approximately 95USD and far more than the
normal cost). Unable to determine the citizenship of the child, the
officer refused the CRBA and passport applications. FPU worked with
DHS at post to enter lookouts on the parents.
¶14. Mexico City has seen a number of imposter cases where an
applicant applies for a passport at post but a passport under the
applicant's professed identity has already been issued to a
different person. Whether the person is a victim of identity theft
or has given or sold his/her ID documents is difficult to determine.
Usually the original fraud has occurred in the United States and is
not discovered until years later. In these cases FPU works with the
Assistant Regional Security Officer for Investigations (ARSO-I) to
initiate U.S.-based investigations where appropriate.
¶15. In one such recent case, an applicant presented his U.S.
passport issued in 1998 during a renewal interview at post in
November 2008. In 2006, a man claiming the same identity applied
for a passport in the U.S. Diplomatic Security (DS) undertook an
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investigation as the subject claimed to be a first time applicant
and his identity documents were recently issued. DS decided that
this man was the true owner of the identity; he was issued a
passport in 2007. The investigation notes stated that the subject
served time in jail from 2002-2003. He said he did not know the man
who was issued a passport in 1998. Interestingly, the man who
applied at the Embassy in November 2008 said that he met the man who
was issued a passport in 2007 in jail, as they were cell mates. The
November 2008 applicant never returned to the Embassy with further
identity documentation, and was thus refused as a suspected
¶16. On occasion, ACS is confronted with cases in which it is
extremely difficult to verify U.S. citizenship. In one recent case,
a man approached a consular agency office and claimed to be a
destitute American citizen. At the Embassy the man could not
provide contact information in relation to a repatriation process.
FPU conducted a LexisNexis search which did not return relevant
information on the subject who claimed to have lived his entire life
in the U.S. and who spoke English quite well. The man refused to
leave and was eventually escorted out of the Embassy by U.S. Marines
and RSO personnel who needed pepper spray to subdue him. The
following day the man approached a local non-governmental
organization (NGO) that assists American citizens in order to
request a bus ticket to the U.S. border. The NGO contacted the
Embassy and ACS related its inability to confirm his citizenship.
Two days later the subject was arrested by local officials. ACS
requested that the Mexican authorities fingerprint the man. The
A-RSOI queried the prints against IAFIS and the results returned a
confirmed record for a Mexican national with a completely different
name. The subject had been deported or voluntarily departed the
U.S. five times since 1998, with his most recent removal occurring
in October 2008. ACS has not heard from the man since.
¶17. FPU liaises closely with CA/FPP on all passport and CRBA cases
in which the subject and/or a parent has a fraud-related hit in
CLASS. In these cases, the officer contacts FPU who accesses the
relevant PLOTS record and reviews the information. CA/FPP is always
contacted in order to seek concurrence if the officer believes the
claim to U.S. citizenship is credible or if more information is
needed to adjudicate the case. CA/FPP is a constant source of
support and guidance and responds rapidly to all inquiries from
¶18. Mexico City does not process adoption cases.
USE OF DNA TESTING
¶19. Post uses DNA testing in passport/CRBA cases where no positive
proof of parentage exists. The most common scenario in which this
need arises is when one or both parents were married to another
person at the time of the child's conception or birth. In such a
scenario, DNA testing is requested almost as a matter of course.
DNA testing may also be requested when the AMCIT parent swears in
his/her affidavit of physical presence that he/she was apart from
the other parent at the time of the child's conception. Often this
is simply a matter of the parent noting travel dates incorrectly,
but if no other evidence can be found or developed in the interview
to account for the discrepancy, DNA testing is often the only way in
which to determine parentage.
¶20. When requested, the applicant is given information on how to
pay for the DNA test at a designated testing facility in the U.S.
Once payment has been received, an appointment is made at a local
laboratory for the applicant and his/her purported child to give
swab samples for DNA testing. An officer and an LES are present
when the samples are collected by a technician at the laboratory,
and the officer initials over the seal of the samples collected.
The samples are then forwarded to the U.S. for testing, and results
are received at post in a matter of weeks. Post requests DNA
testing from applicants on average three times per month.
Approximately one out of every 20 tests results in the purported
father being excluded as the genetic parent of the child.
ASYLUM AND OTHER DHS BENEFIT FRAUD
¶21. Mexico City has representatives from DHS and thus does not have
any involvement with DHS benefits.
ALIEN SMUGGLING, TRAFFICKING, ORGANIZED CRIME, AND TERRORIST TRAVEL
¶22. Post has encountered cases of TCNs and transnational criminals
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who capitalize on the systemic malfeasance and corruption found in
the immigration and civil registry agencies of the Mexican
Government to obtain genuine Mexican ID documents. As the drug war
in Mexico reaches a fever pitch, FPU has worked increasingly closely
with various U.S. Law Enforcement agencies at post to build
revocation cases against visa holders with INA Section 2(C)(1) and
¶23. Widespread forgery and alteration of documents undermine all
efforts to combat document fraud in Mexico. Criminal intelligence
supports the conclusion that any document necessary for travel can
be purchased for a price in Mexico. Documents are produced by
multiple organized criminal sources that have both sophisticated and
non-sophisticated capabilities to forge and alter documents, provide
false entry/exit stamps, wash visas, and provide false passports.
The most misused and available documents are fraudulent birth
records, which are often used as breeder documents to obtain a
genuine Mexican passport.
DS CRIMINAL FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS
¶24. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security's Criminal Investigations
Program and Visa and Passport Security Program are well established
in Mexico. Mexico currently has six DS Special Agents who serve as
ARSO-Is who are co-located in consular sections in Mexico City,
Hermosillo, Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Matamoros, and Monterrey. A
seventh ARSO-I position should be operational in Guadalajara in July
2009, and Nuevo Laredo is also expecting an ARSO-I position in the
near future. The Acting Deputy Regional Security Officer manages
the entire program from Mexico City.
¶25. Once FPU has identified a fraud case and it appears to involve
clear violations of U.S. law or evidence of criminal activity, the
ARSO-I reviews the case for potential criminal case development.
All criminal cases accepted by DS are reported monthly through DS
channels to DS's Criminal Investigations Division. Significant
cases, updates, and final disposition are then shared by DS in
regular meetings with CA/FPP. Cases that have only a local nexus
are passed on to the host nation authorities for prosecution and
monitored by the ARSO-I for final disposition.
¶26. In a recent case, an NIV line officer contacted the ARSO-I
after noting suspicious movements in a visa applicant's bank
accounts. After reviewing the case, the ARSO/I referred it to DS
for investigation in the U.S. for suspected money laundering.
¶27. A steady stream of H cases continue to be developed and
referred back to the U.S. for investigation and prosecution. The
program has been working regularly with KCC's fraud and analytical
units to scrutinize many H visa petitions, as well as U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Document and Benefit
Fraud Task Forces to bring to bear a coordinated multi-agency
criminal investigation where fraud is suspected.
HOST COUNTRY PASSPORT, IDENTITY DOCUMENTS, AND CIVIL REGISTRY
¶28. Mexico City's FPU continues to have concerns regarding Mexican
passport security. While the Mexican passport itself features a
number of effective security features, it remains very easy to
acquire a legitimate Mexican passport with fraudulent birth
certificates or other identity documents. Mexico City's FPU has
shared with the Mexican Secretariat of External Relations (SRE)
information on the "delegaciones" (local passport offices) that have
a history of issuing Mexican passports to Central and South
Americans, Europeans, as well as to Mexicans with false identities.
¶29. In a seemingly routine visa renewal case, a subject claimed to
be born in Mexico City and presented a genuine Mexican passport.
However, the applicant's fingerprints returned an IAFIS hit that
revealed him to be the subject of an Interpol Red Notice and the
owner of a completely different identity. The subject's Mexican
passport was issued under a false name. Given that the subject's
past U.S. visa was issued under the same name, the subject had
evidently used his false identity for at least ten years. The
subject is actually from Spain where he is wanted for bank fraud
(with damages in the range of 50 million USD) committed in the early
1990's. ARSO-I coordinated with Interpol to have the subject
apprehended when he returned to the Embassy to ostensibly collect
his visa. The subject is currently in Mexican prison while Mexico
and Spain arrange extradition details.
¶30. In late 2007 the SRE decided to start its own passport
anti-fraud unit. With Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) funding, the
SRE sent several members of their new anti-fraud team to Washington
in February 2008 to observe and learn about USG anti-fraud
operations. Ultimately an SRE anti-fraud unit should lead to
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stricter internal controls on Mexican passport issuances and thus to
fewer applicants (for NIV and ACS services) with false identities
but legitimate Mexican documents. Unfortunately, the unit will not
begin operations until a new passport director is named.
¶31. As previously reported in Reftels, the Government of Mexico
(GOM) debuted a new "G" series passport. In addition to some
quality issues with the new passport, the GOM had been issuing two
versions of the new passport simultaneously. As well as issuing
both versions of the "G" series passport, the SRE continued to issue
"F" series passports in order to finish their inventory of "F"
passport books. Currently, it appears that the SRE has made the
transition and is now only printing one version of the "G" series
passport. GOM contracts a Spanish company - Indira- to produce its
laminate passport books.
COOPERATION WITH HOST GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES
¶32. FPU has an excellent working relationship with the SRE and good
contacts with civil registries in the consular district. FPU has
made valuable contacts in the financial and travel sectors through
FPU-led training sessions on U.S. and Mexican travel documents. A
strong relationship with local law enforcement has enabled DS to
refer various visa cases with criminal implications to the relevant
¶33. FPU - with the support of ARSO-I - works closely with the
Mexican Attorney General's office (PGR) on various issues. The PGR
has agreed to start prosecuting double identity cases in which the
applicant has a national voting card (IFE). Additionally, the PGR
and DS have agreed to use a separate section of Mexican Law
(referred to as Article 4) to prosecute particularly egregious fraud
cases. Article 4 allows the Mexican authorities to prosecute
Mexican citizens for crimes they have committed in other countries.
¶34. In a recent case, an observant LES enroller came across a
passport that looked suspicious. FPU verified that the passport was
indeed a fake, as was the copy of the IFE he presented. The subject
said he bought the fake passport and IFE because it was easier than
waiting in line. His fingerprint results told a different story.
The subject had been deported/voluntarily departed from the U.S. at
least five times. He has at least ten charges from 1999-2007,
including possession and sale of narcotics, drinking under the
influence, and spousal abuse. During his criminal career, the
subject has used at least five different names. ARSO-I contacted
the PGR who came to the NIV section to place the subject under
arrest. Interestingly, for legal purposes, the PGR considers the
Embassy "another country" and as such, the subject's crime of
presenting a false identity can be prosecuted under Article 4.
¶35. FPU routinely meets with the Mexican Education Secretariat
(SEP) in order to return fraudulent "cedulas profesionales." The
SEP then follows up with the PGR in order to prosecute these
fraudulent professionals. Previously, ARSO-I presented various
cases to the Mexican authorities in which practicing physicians had
fake professional credentials. To our knowledge, none of these
cases have been prosecuted.
AREAS OF PARTICULAR CONCERN
¶36. We would like to see more of our investigators taken for FSI
Fraud Prevention Training as currently only two of the six
investigators have been able to take the current course.
STAFFING AND TRAINING
¶37. Current positions that are dedicated exclusively to FPU and
fraud prevention training received by each employee:
Fraud Prevention Manager (acting): Shelly J. Dittmar
(Fraud Prevention Manager course at FSI in Sept. 2006 and on the job
ARSO-I: Chad Reynolds (on the job training)
Junior Officer Rotation: Nicole Gallagher (on the job training)
Senior FSN Fraud Investigator: Mihai Ghitescu
(Equivalent of PC 542 taken in Fort Lauderdale, FL in 1998 and on
the job training)
FSN Fraud Investigator: Francisco Osorio (PC 542 in March 2006 and
on the job training)
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FSN Fraud Investigator: Fluviano Florencio (on the job training)
FSN Fraud Investigator: Juan Carlos Posada (on the job training)
FSN Fraud Investigator: Monica Lopez (on the job training)
FSN Fraud Investigator (H and L): Monica Madera (on the job
FSN Administrative Assistant: Alan Picazo (on the job training)
¶38. FPU provided anti-fraud training to 599 people in this
reporting period, for a total of 100 hours of training. FPU trained
39 Foreign Service Officers, 51 LES and 509 outside contacts,
including representatives from the financial sector, Mexican
governmental agencies, and airlines. Building on the initial fraud
training offered to newly-arrived consular officers, FPU began a
mandatory "Fraud Refresher" course for consular officers who have
conducted visa interviews for three months or more. FPU also
started a monthly seminar series that educates officers on Mexican
structures and institutions, to include various political, economic,
and governmental topics. FPU led three city tours this period, two
for consular officers and one for other members of the Embassy