Florida man #convicted for #visa fraud #scheme involving #Alabama #business owners

A Florida man is awaiting sentencing for a federal conviction in an international visa fraud operation that implicated collusion from businesses in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

 

The office of United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announced Tuesday that David Jesus Jimenez of Davie, Florida, has been convicted by a jury on charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and substantive money laundering.

Authorities report Jimenez took advantage of the EB-1C visa program, which in its legitimate form is designed to allow United States business whom hold business relations abroad to petition to hire a foreign multinational manager or executive, allowing them to immigrate to the US to manage their business.

“This employment-based visa program is designed to help United States businesses attract top foreign talent to help run a joint business partnership together from the United States,” Moore’s office says in a release. “Upon obtaining an EB-1C visa, the foreign national is on the fastest tract to Legal Permanent Resident status, and ultimately, United States citizenship.”

During Jimenez’s trial, which began October 2, in United States District Court in Mobile, testimony revealed that Jimenez conspired with individuals in China who charged Chinese nationals $300,000 in order to purchase a “sponsorship” from business owners in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. This “sponsorship” was a veiled fraudulent petition in order to gain a visa.

“The business owners then provided documentation about their companies to Jimenez and the other co-conspirators,” the release says. “Thereafter, false, fraudulent, forged, and materially misleading documentation was created by the co-conspirators, all of which was designed to give the appearance that the United States business had a qualifying relationship with a Chinese company through a joint venture between the two businesses.”

According to Moore’s office, lawyers and businesses owners involved in the scheme were given no indication that the information being submitted to US Immigration Custom Enforcement was fraudulent.

In addition to the visa fraud, the trial revealed Jimenez and his co-conspirators wired money from Hong Kong bank accounts into American bank accounts under his control. Jimenez used this money to pay local business owners, attorneys and his co-conspirators.

“Schemes of this nature are an assault on our immigration system that divert our federal investigative resources when we are forced to spend time and money unravelling these complicated criminal acts,” Moore said in the trial’s conclusion.

The investigation into Jimenez was a joint-effort, handled by the Mobile offices of the Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, as well as fraud investigators in the Dallas Field Office of USCIS.

Jimenez will be sentenced by Chief Judge Kristi DuBose on January 26, 2018.

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