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DOS Announces Increase In Visa and Passport Fraud Arrests

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 03122323 (posted Dec. 23, 2003)"

Fact Sheet Office of the Spokesman Washington, DC December 16, 2003

Bureau of Diplomatic Security Criminal Program Accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2003

While the Bureau of Diplomatic Security has long recognized criminal investigations as a core function of its overall mission, post-9/11 enhanced hiring authorities have enabled Diplomatic Security to increase its resources dedicated to investigations. As a result, in fiscal year 2003, Diplomatic Security embarked on numerous initiatives designed to enhance investigative capabilities, to prevent instances of employee malfeasance, and to protect the integrity of the passport and visa issuance process.

  • Deployed 23 agents to high-fraud posts overseas to work specifically with host government law enforcement in bolstering border security capabilities and to prevent ineligible persons from entering the U.S. illegally. Diplomatic Security expects to add agents to two more high-fraud posts in fiscal year 2004.
  • Formed successful investigative partnerships with other federal law enforcement agencies, particularly Interpol and the U.S. Marshals Service, to promote information sharing and connectivity within the law enforcement community.
  • Developed a strong working relationship with colleagues in the Bureau of Consular Affairs to promote a proactive, zero-tolerance stance on passport and visa malfeasance.

Implementation of these program initiatives led to the following investigative successes in fiscal year 2003:

  • 82% increase in total individuals arrested for passport and visa fraud from FY02 to FY03 (FY02: 401 arrestees; FY03: 731).
    Passport Fraud 81% increase (FY02: 339; FY03: 615)
    Visa Fraud 78% increase (FY02: 50; FY03: 89)
    Miscellaneous* - 125% increase (FY02: 12; FY03: 25)
    * includes task force participation, inquiries involving identity theft, domestic requests for assistance from local police department or federal agency.
  • Execution of four large-scale visa malfeasance investigative operations at the U.S. Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and U.S. Consulates in Nuevo Laredo and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, that resulted in the arrest of 16 individuals four Foreign or Civil Service employees, four Foreign Service National employees, and eight other associated individuals. With Consular Affair s assistance, these aggressive, proactive operations led to the identification and prosecution of those individuals involved in malfeasance.
  • Arrest of 70 wanted U.S. fugitives in fiscal year 2003 as a result of the Diplomatic Security-U.S. Marshals Service partnership. Recent significant arrests include a former Georgia state senator convicted of corruption who fled to the Bahamas and two U.S. Marshals Top 15 fugitives wanted for child molestation and federal narcotics charges.
  • Participation on 19 domestic Joint Terrorism Task Forces to provide assistance on national and international counterterrorism investigations.
  • Establishment of the Vulnerability Assessment Unit within the Office of Fraud Prevention Programs in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This unit is a Diplomatic Security and Consular Affairs collaborative effort that will improve detection of visa fraud and malfeasance, conduct regular and timely analysis of intelligence, develop fraud trends, and refer suspected cases that merit further investigation to Diplomatic Security.
  • Participation with Consular Affairs on overseas Consular Management Assistance Teams, established by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, which thoroughly review consular section management policies and tighten internal controls.
  • Co-location of thirteen Diplomatic Security domestic field and resident offices with Consular Affairs Passport Agencies in order to expedite the referral of suspected passport fraud incidents for investigation.
  • Establishment of monthly Diplomatic Security and Consular Affairs senior-level management meetings to discuss ongoing passport and visa fraud cases, problem areas, and joint initiatives.

2003/1270
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