FBI agents Thursday searched the homes and businesses of two men who allegedly bribed an immigration official in the Philippines to provide visas to the United States for future employees.
Agents searched the Irvine business and Aliso Viejo home of Dale C. Fauni, 25. An FBI spokesman said Fauni may have fled the country after his father and uncle were arrested this week on bribery and conspiracy charges.
The Los Angeles home and Glendale business of Oscar B. Fauni, Dale Fauni's father, were also searched. The father surrendered to FBI agents in Santa Ana on Tuesday, apparently after he learned that his brother, Romeo Fauni, had been arrested Monday in Guam.
Romeo Fauni was arrested after he gave a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service official about $9,500, said John Carpenter, supervising special agent for the FBI's white-collar crime unit in Orange County.
Oscar Fauni was being held in lieu of $150,000 bail, Carpenter said.
The FBI alleges in court documents that Oscar Fauni approached the officer in charge of the INS office in Manila in May and offered $750 for each visa he would push through for approval.
Oscar and Dale Fauni operate personnel services that bring health-care workers from the Philippines and place them with Southern California hospitals. Oscar Fauni is president of Telimed Health Systems Inc. in Glendale, and his son is the president of Mindel Health Care in Irvine.
Although the Faunis could probably import health-care workers legally, Carpenter said, "I guess (the application process) wasn't moving fast enough for them."
The INS official, Hipolito M. Acosta, told the FBI about the bribe offer and worked with agents during the investigation, Carpenter said.
The Faunis worked out the details of the bribe offer with Acosta after they flew him to Irvine last month, according to the FBI's search warrant affidavit. Dale Fauni gave Acosta his first $5,500 for approving 10 visas, after deducting $2,000 for the cost of his airline ticket, the affidavit said.
Through telephone conversations on July 11 and 14, Acosta and Dale Fauni arranged for Acosta to pick up his next payment in Guam from Romeo Fauni, the FBI said. When the two met Monday on Guam, FBI agents arrested Romeo Fauni after he gave Acosta $9,500 to approve another batch of visas, Carpenter said.
Because Romeo Fauni, a Philippine citizen, was arrested in Guam, a U.S. possession, he can be brought to Orange County to face charges without being extradited, said Deirdre Eliot, the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case.