An investigation by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has forced Eleno Quinteros Jr., the former vice president of operations for two airline staffing companies, to plead guilty to charges of fraud after falsifying statements regarding his illegal collection of unlawful fees from immigrant employees.
The fees, from which Quinteros gained around $567,000, were paid by the victims with the expectation that he would support their applications for lawful permanent resident status. Staffing airline companies with mechanics sourced from Mexico, as well as being the designated officer in assisting said immigrants in acquiring work visas like the H-2B, H-1B, or TN, gave Quinteros access to the immigrants that fell victim to his scheme.
Quinteros had to make a series of confessions before arriving at his final one, presumed to be forced out of him by USCIS officials. He began with the admission to falsely certifying that he had received none of the payments he was alleged of collecting. He later admitted to only one count of falsely claiming supporting of status application but also confessed that his illegal operations involved over 20 different immigration documents.
Susan Curda, USCIS Los Angeles director, writes on the Quinteros case: “US Citizenship and Immigration Services has zero tolerance for those who try to fraudulently misuse our country’s lawful immigration system. We are proud of our role in uncovering this scheme and bringing the perpetrator to justice.”
More than 80 immigrants were said to have been fooled by the scheme, the indictment shows. They were first recruited in the typical manner without any conditions that could potentially raise flags and then eventually lured in with the promise of lawful permanent residence – for a price. This resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in unlawful profit for Quinteros.
Quinteros employed a variety of fraudulent and covert methods to collecting the fees. One way was to instruct the employees to deposit their payments directly to his wife’s bank account. Another way was to ask them to write money orders with minimal identifying details in order to evade liability.
A number of agencies are responsible for bringing the Quinteros case to justice. First, the Department of Homeland Security took speedy action against this case of immigration fraud. Their action was supported by the USCIS’ Fraud Detection and National Security units paired with the ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations.
Quinteros will be facing court again in November this year.
For more news and updates on immigration cases, be sure to follow this blog. If you suspect that you have been schemed by a fraudulent visa application process, talk to the immigration law experts of the Lyttle Law Firm to form a plan of action. Call our offices today to learn more from immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.