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NATIONAL
January 9, 2014 | By Tina Susman, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
NEW YORK -- Prosecutors charged an Indian diplomat with visa fraud Thursday for lying to cover up her housekeeper's wretched working conditions, but it was not clear if the woman whose arrest sparked an international uproar would face U.S. justice. The U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, said in court documents that he understood the defendant, Devyani Khobragade,  had been granted diplomatic immunity and had “departed the United States today.” “Therefore the charges shall remain pending until such time as she can be brought to court,” he said.  Later, a spokesman for Bharara said Khobragade had not left the country after all. [Updated, 8:29 p.m. PST Jan. 9: Late Thursday, however, the Associated Press reported that she had left the U.S. after a court hearing attended only by attorneys in the case.
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NATIONAL
January 9, 2014 | By Tina Susman, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
NEW YORK -- Prosecutors charged an Indian diplomat with visa fraud Thursday for lying to cover up her housekeeper's wretched working conditions, but it was not clear if the woman whose arrest sparked an international uproar would face U.S. justice. The U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, said in court documents that he understood the defendant, Devyani Khobragade,  had been granted diplomatic immunity and had “departed the United States today.” “Therefore the charges shall remain pending until such time as she can be brought to court,” he said.  Later, a spokesman for Bharara said Khobragade had not left the country after all. [Updated, 8:29 p.m. PST Jan. 9: Late Thursday, however, the Associated Press reported that she had left the U.S. after a court hearing attended only by attorneys in the case.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 8, 2010 | By Anna Gorman and My-Thuan Tran
Eamonn Daniel Higgins spent seven years in college. Between 2002 and 2009, he attended 10 different schools in Southern California, including Cal State L.A., Irvine Valley College and Santa Monica College, according to federal prosecutors. During that time, he studied sociology, marketing, English, business and math. But Higgins was not a student and wasn't registered in any of the classes, authorities said. Rather, dozens of foreign students -- all from the Middle East -- were paying him to sit in class, take exams and write papers so that their student visas would remain valid, according to a charging document filed in the case.
WORLD
December 18, 2013 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Wednesday “expressed his regret” to a senior Indian official about the treatment of an Indian diplomat who was arrested last week in New York, although he didn't concede that U.S. authorities had broken any rules during her detention, the State Department said. Kerry's telephone call sought to calm a diplomatic furor over the treatment of Devyani Khobragade, a deputy consul general who was arrested and charged with visa fraud Thursday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 12, 2001 | From Times Staff Reports
Two Pakistani students who were taken into custody after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and later charged with visa fraud were ordered released on bond Tuesday by a federal magistrate in Los Angeles. Ahmed Atta and Salman Hyder, both 19, were ordered to return to court Dec. 31 for arraignment on charges that they lied about their immigration status to take jobs. Atta and Hyder, who lived in Fountain Valley, were taken into custody for questioning on Oct. 8.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 6, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Two attorneys at an immigration law firm have pleaded guilty to charges of filing fraudulent visa applications on behalf of foreign nationals, including some who worked for their firm, officials said Friday. Steven James Rodriguez, 40, a senior associate of the law firm formerly known as Korenberg, Abramowitz & Feldun, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of making false statements to federal agents, officials said. Daniel E.
NEWS
January 5, 2002 | From Times Wire Reports
A Saudi man rounded up with other Middle Easterners in the aftermath of Sept. 11 received a four-month sentence for visa fraud but was cleared of any connection to the terrorist attacks. U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III, in Alexandria, imposed the sentence on Khalid al-Draibi after the man apologized for making false statements on his tourist visa application. Al-Draibi will be deported because of the fraud, and his sentence will essentially amount to his time in custody since Sept.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 22, 2004 | Ann M. Simmons, Times Staff Writer
Four people have been charged in a fraud scheme that immigration officials say represented one of the largest employment-related visa scams ever uncovered in Southern California. Smashing the alleged scam, which involved the filing of bogus work visa applications on behalf of hundreds of foreign nationals, ended a more than two-year investigation that drew on resources from several government agencies.
WORLD
February 1, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
The U.S. Justice Department said officials in Laredo, Texas, have filed visa fraud charges against three Mexican citizens who worked at the U.S. Consulate in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo. The three men, arrested in the United States, were identified as Sergio Genaro Ochoa-Alarcon, 31, Benjamin Antonio Ayala-Morales, 34, and Ramon Alberto Torres-Galvan, 34. Consul workers allegedly sold visas to people who did not complete the required process.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 1, 2002 | From Times Staff Reports
Two Pakistani students taken into custody after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks pleaded not guilty in federal court in Los Angeles Monday to charges of visa fraud. Ahmed Atta and Salman Hyder, both 19, of Orange County and former students at Irvine Valley College, face felony charges of lying about immigration status to take jobs. A third man, Salman Hamid Khan, pleaded not guilty Monday to the same charges.
WORLD
December 17, 2013 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - Seeking to defuse a growing dispute, the State Department on Tuesday promised an internal investigation into the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York and urged New Delhi not to retaliate in ways that threatened the safety of U.S. diplomats. The arrest Thursday of Indian deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade on federal charges of visa fraud has set off a storm of angry protests in New Delhi, and a stripping of privileges of U.S. diplomats there. Khobragade was accused of filing false documents to obtain a visa for her housekeeper, and of paying her $3.13 an hour, about one-third the federal minimum wage.
WORLD
December 17, 2013 | By Mark Magnier
NEW DELHI -- India reacted Tuesday to the arrest of one of its diplomats in New York last week by snubbing a U.S. Congressional delegation, removing security from outside the U.S. Embassy and threatening to treat U.S. diplomats the same way it says its envoys were treated by America. The issue has become a major story, with India's often-breathless media calling the situation a “full blown diplomatic war,” while National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon was quoted describing the U.S. action as “barbaric” and “despicable.” The incident was sparked off when Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, was arrested last week by New York police on charges of visa fraud.
OPINION
October 9, 2012
In the aftermath of 9/11, the federal government allowed its anxiety about possible future attacks to overwhelm its commitment to due process and the rule of law. An early manifestation of that overreaction was the rounding up of Arab and Muslim men on the pretext of holding them as potential witnesses at the trials of others. One victim of that policy was Abdullah Kidd, who was known as Lavoni Kidd when he played football for the University of Idaho. A convert to Islam, Kidd was arrested in 2003 at Dulles International Airport as he was preparing to board a flight to Saudi Arabia and then shuttled between detention facilities under the pretext of securing his appearance at the future trial of an associate being investigated for visa fraud and possible ties to terrorism.
NATIONAL
May 8, 2012 | By Tina Susman
A Rwandan woman living in Boston has been convicted of immigration fraud for concealing her membership in Rwanda's ruling party during that country's 1994 genocide so that she could gain entry to the United States. Her sister faces similar charges in New Hampshire. The trial of Prudence Kantengwa, 47, concluded in a Boston courtroom Monday. Meanwhile, her sister, Beatrice Munyenyezi , is in a New Hampshire jail waiting for her second trial on immigration fraud charges to begin.
BUSINESS
September 1, 2011 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
The lawyer son of a former top California pension fund official was convicted on charges related to a scheme to have a client lie to a federal grand jury in exchange for cash. Alfred Nash Villalobos, 46, faces up to 30 years in prison after his conviction Wednesday on extortion and obstruction of justice charges. His father, Alfred J.R. Villalobos, a former director on the board of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, was sued by the California attorney general's office last year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 8, 2010 | By Anna Gorman and My-Thuan Tran
Eamonn Daniel Higgins spent seven years in college. Between 2002 and 2009, he attended 10 different schools in Southern California, including Cal State L.A., Irvine Valley College and Santa Monica College, according to federal prosecutors. During that time, he studied sociology, marketing, English, business and math. But Higgins was not a student and wasn't registered in any of the classes, authorities said. Rather, dozens of foreign students -- all from the Middle East -- were paying him to sit in class, take exams and write papers so that their student visas would remain valid, according to a charging document filed in the case.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 2, 2007 | Anna Gorman, Times Staff Writer
Two local immigration attorneys have been charged with fraud after allegedly filing false employment visa applications for 14 foreign nationals working for their firm, according to a federal grand jury indictment released Thursday. The lawyers, of ASK Law Group in Sherman Oaks, filed the fraudulent applications and paid their employees in cash while awaiting approval for the visas, according to the indictment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 7, 2010 | By Teresa Watanabe
The immigration investigator was polite but persistent as he approached the leasing agent at a five-story office building in El Monte. Where is Suite 105? Can I see it? Where is the person who established the business? The leasing agent paused. The businessman was trying to set up the office a year ago, she said, but he never did. Actually, she added, he used the place only as a mailing address. Bingo. According to immigration official Rand L. Gallagher, the visit confirmed his suspicions that the Chinese national in question had filed a fraudulent application for a business visa.
BUSINESS
April 9, 2009 | Rebecca Cole
A deep recession and surging unemployment have tamped down the usual frenzied rush of companies filing temporary visa requests to hire skilled foreign workers, and the five-day application period that ended this week has been extended. Immigration officials now will continue to accept H1-B visa petitions until the limit is reached, they said Wednesday, and that could take until the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.
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