I am providing you with a press release that was issued by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on April 6, 2011.
As you will see, the press release reports on an immigration consulting business that had been operating in the Los Angeles area and conspired with aliens and United States citizens in conjunction with a fraud scheme that provided the aliens with means of securing lawful immigrant status via marriage fraud and also provided aliens with work visa petitions. Reportedly the fees ran as high as $60,000 for a Green Card based on the marriage fraud and $15,000 for a work visa.
The press release noted that at least 21 instances of fraud applications for visas had been uncovered and that the ring operated in California, New Jersey, Georgia and India.
Additionally, the trio of defendants are alleged to have arranged for United States citizens to become involved in the fairly sophisticated fraud scam in which they married aliens seeking Green Cards for $2,000.00. I refer to this as a fairly sophisticated scheme because joint bank accounts were arranged for as well as other efforts were made to make these bogus marriages appear to be legitimate.
While the press release did not mention the immigration status of the three defendants, all who were apparently members of the same family: Ajit Kumar Bhargava, 61; his wife, Nisha Bhargava, 56; and their daughter, Runjhun Bhargava, 30, I would hope that the investigation will delve into the way that they had entered the United States and set up their consulting service.
Something else not noted in the press release is what efforts, if any, are being made to locate those who conspired with them. The aliens and the citizens who allegedly engaged in defrauding the United States by entering into sham marriages or filed bogus applications for work visas are also guilty of committing felonies- if, of course, they are guilty of what they should be accused of doing.
The point is that if ICE only focuses on the three defendants who ran the consulting service known as “MPEagle Consultants” which was based in Cerritos, California then a number of alleged co-conspirators are being ignored. The implications would be serious. The point to law enforcement is to punish those who violate the law. This can serve as a strong deterrent to convince those who might contemplate violating the law that there is a real potential of getting caught and punished if you commit a similar crime.
If those aliens who paid the company in order to secure immigration benefits to which they were not entitled are not arrested then the message to other aliens who might consider engaging in similar fraud schemes that there is no risk to committing those crimes. Similarly, the citizens who were purportedly paid to participate in the fraud marriages must be sought and prosecuted to not only punish them for their alleged violations of law, but to serve a clear message to others who might be tempted to engage in similar crimes.
The IRS often arrests taxpayers who either file bogus tax returns or fail to file tax returns at all in order to deter those who might attempt similar crimes. Often such arrests are carried out as April 15th approaches to serve notice on the public that the IRS is ready, willing and able to identify tax cheats to deter crimes involving tax evasion and similar violations of law.
It is also important to give a bit of thought as to who the “clients” of MPEagle Consultants might be considering how high the fees for “services” allegedly were. My concern is what might motivate someone to pay the high fees the press release stated were paid by the alien clients. It must be presumed that the aliens believed that they could ultimately make enough money to make it worthwhile to pay those extremely high fees. My concern is how did they plan to make their “investments” pay off? Were the aliens who entered into these expensive conspiracies planning to commit crimes or participate in terrorist activities that caused them to be willing to pay such high “fees?”
Does anyone really know how many aliens actually benefited by conspiring with the alleged criminal organization? Please note, the press release indicated that while MPEagle Consultants were headquartered in California, they apparently had offices in Georgia, New Jersey and India. This would seem to indicate that it was a far flung operation and, if it had offices in India and if, as it is alleged, they engaged in corrupt practices, is anyone considering that employees at American consulates or the American Embassy might have worked in conjunction with them? One of the areas of vulnerability that our nation faces is that often so-called “locals” are employed by the State Department in order to have them assist them in securing visas and other benefits through fraud. (A local is a citizen of the foreign country in which the consulate or embassy is located.) One of the issues with local employees is that when it is discovered that such an employee is engaged in corrupt practices it is often easier to simply fire the employee rather than prosecute that employee. This is a real problem because such an individual is often able to “earn” quite a bit of tax-free income in a very short period of time knowing that the likelihood of criminal prosecution is small.
There have been a number of similar cases involving fraud rings that provided fraudulent documents to illegal aliens or helped them to gain lawful status by fraud schemes where the press releases made absolutely no mention of any efforts made to identify, locate, arrest and prosecute the aliens who availed themselves of the “services” provided by the criminal rings. The same apparent lack of effort to locate illegal aliens who were smuggled into the United States by smugglers is evident in other ICE press releases.
Here are links to several other such press releases and the title of the press release:
22 alleged members of sophisticated, violent fraudulent document ring indicted
Eritrean man pleads guilty to alien smuggling
3 Colombian nationals sentenced to 23 months for alien smuggling and visa fraud charges
Brazilian couple sentenced in $55 million visa fraud scheme
In reviewing these press releases, you will notice that in some of these instances thousands of aliens involved and yet the defendants generally were only sentenced to serve a couple of years in jail even though they were found guilty of smuggling and/or aiding and abetting large numbers of aliens to circumvent our nation’s borders and immigration laws.
Finally, it is extremely important to understand that there are so many smuggling and fraud rings that are operating “out there.” The government officials who are quoted in these press releases issue macho statements that include the key “buzz words” that include mention of how the defendants compromised national security, endangered lives and will punished to the maximum extent of the law. Yet the tough rhetoric is not substantiated by the reality of these cases.
When we were kids we all heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me!”
Those who conspire with smugglers and fraud rings and those who run those criminal rings could probably say the same thing about those soundbites issued by prosecutors and the leaders of our federal agencies. Deterrence can only be achieved by action and results. The necessary actions require an adequate number of special agents to actually go after those who conspire with the criminal organizations to either receive an immigration benefit or money for their involvement in fraud schemes.
This is why I do not believe that the so-called, “Silent Raids” being conducted by ICE in order to punish those who intentionally hire illegal aliens but all but ignore the illegal aliens who are employed by those employers.
As you may know, I was a witness at a hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement on January 26th on the issue of worksite enforcement. The issue of the “Silent Raids” was raised at that hearing which was entitled:
“ICE Worksite Enforcement – Up To The Job?”
Here is a copy of my prepared testimony for that hearing:
I certainly commend the efforts of the special agents of ICE and the prosecutors and others who were involved in the investigation reported on in the press release I have attached below. The point is that much more must be done to truly act as a deterrent to those who would create criminal enterprises that compromise our nation’s borders and immigration system and, in so doing, threaten our national security and the safety of our citizens across this nation. That deterrent must also be brought to bear against those who would avail themselves of the services such criminal organizations provide.
When that day comes I will be happy to refer to DHS as the Department of Homeland Security. For now, however, I am compelled to continue to say that DHS should be referred to as the Department of Homeland Surrender!
The effective enforcement and administration of our nation’s immigration laws are, arguably, among the most important of all missions that are supposed to be carried out by our federal government.
Nothing less than the security of our nation and safety of our citizens hang in the balance!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”
The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to resolve this year to get involved!
I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!
If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.
This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!
Democracy is not a spectator sport!
Lead, follow or get out of the way!
Please check out my website:
April 6, 2011
Santa Ana, CA
Owners of L.A.-area immigration consulting business arrested for visa fraud
Firm allegedly charged up to $60,000 to file bogus marriage, work visa petitions
SANTA ANA, Calif. – Three members of an Orange County family
who operate an immigration consulting business that caters primarily to
Indian nationals were arrested Wednesday morning on immigration fraud
charges for allegedly filing bogus marriage and work visa petitions on
behalf of aliens who paid fees as high as $60,000.
Ajit Kumar Bhargava, 61; his wife, Nisha Bhargava, 56; and their
daughter, Runjhun Bhargava, 30, were arrested this morning after being
named in a criminal complaint filed March 29 in U.S. District Court.
The three defendants, all residents of Yorba Linda, Calif., own and
operate MPEagle Consultants in Cerritos, Calif., where special agents
with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security
Investigations (HSI) executed a search warrant Wednesday. All three are
charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud.
According to court documents, the three members of the Bhargava
family recruited unemployed and low-income United States citizens with
promises of $2,000 payments in exchange for “marrying” MPEagle’s alien
clients. To make the bogus marriages appear legitimate, the defendants
had the “couples” pose together for photos and open joint bank accounts.
Based on the sham marriages, MPEagle sought permanent residency for the
aliens by filing fraudulent immigrant visa petitions with U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The affidavit in support
of the criminal complaint describes how Ajit Bhargava quoted different
fees to MPEagle clients depending on the type of visa desired – $15,000
for a work visa, or up to $60,000 for a visa based upon marriage to a
“America’s immigration system is not for sale and those who think
they can game the system for personal gain will find there’s a high
price to pay,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE HSI
in Los Angeles. “Visa fraud is a serious crime. Not only does it
undermine the integrity of our legal immigration process and penalize
those who abide by the law, it also poses a significant security
The investigation in this case began in September 2009 after officers
with the Fraud Detection and National Security Division at the USCIS
Field Office in Santa Ana noted suspicious similarities involving 21
visa petitions that were ultimately traced back to MPEagle. In some
instances, the applicants used the same marriage certificates, divorce
certificates, marriage witnesses or even United States citizen
“Our fraud detection officers work collaboratively with ICE HSI to
investigate fraudulent conduct that jeopardizes the integrity of our
immigration system,” said Jane Arellano, District Director for USCIS in
Los Angeles. “We are very proud of the work that they do.”
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has
committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless
The three defendants arrested Wednesday morning are expected to make
their initial appearance in federal court Wednesday afternoon. The
charge of conspiracy to commit visa fraud carries a maximum penalty of
up to five years in prison.
On its website, MPEagle says it offers immigration services related
to employment, business and investment needs. In addition to the
Cerritos office searched this morning, the website lists contact
information for business locations in Georgia, New Jersey and India.
You may also visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or access this news release on your mobile device.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad
responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For
more information, visit www.ICE.gov. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423.
TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL W. CUTLER, SENIOR SPECIAL AGENT, INS (RET.) FOR THE HEARING TO BE HELD ON JANUARY 26, 2011 ON THE TOPIC- ICE WORKSITE ENFORCEMENT UP TO THE JOB ? BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION POLICY AND ENFORCEMENT.doc