"In advance of the Labor Day weekend," the FBI has issued a warning to the public about "border corruption" by government employees, and to do so the agency is pointing to the case of a Santa Ana immigration officer who accepted bribes of money and egg rolls to approve immigrants' residency or citizenship applications.
Surely you remember the Weekly's reporting on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' Mai Nhu Nguyen, 48, who took thousands of dollars in bribes from immigrants who were seeking either citizenship or lawful permanent resident status and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.
Nguyen, who received bribes from Vietnamese immigrants between 2011 and June 2013 at the USCIS Santa Ana office, took $1,000 from an immigrant seeking a green card. From Moxley's report:
Two days after the alleged demand, Nguyen called the applicant, told her to go to Quang Minh market in Little Saigon, purchase a fish sauce package and place an envelope containing $1,000 in the bag, according to the indictment.
When the woman complied, Nguyen walked up in the Brookhurst Avenue-facing parking lot; said, "It's me"; grabbed the package; drove away; and later approved the application, DHS officials claim.
Is it good to dip egg rolls in fish sauce? Nguyen was also convicted of seeking hundreds of egg rolls from another immigrant seeking citizenship. (I reported 200, Moxley had it at 300; go figure.) The Irvine resident and eight-year employee was popped after an investigation by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.
To drive home their Labor Day weekend border corruption message, the FBI also pointed to former USCIS officer Daniel Espejo Amos, a 68-year-old Lakewood resident who was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes—including more than $53,000 from immigration consultants on behalf of people who were not eligible to become naturalized citizens—and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ex-senior officer Constantine Peter Kallas, 40, of Alta Loma, who was sentenced to 212 months in federal prison for taking nearly a half million dollars in bribes from immigrants who were promised benefits that would allow them to remain in the country.
The FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs Border Protection are encouraging "citizens and government employees who witness or suspect border corruption to report it to their local FBI field office."
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"Border corruption poses a significant risk to national security and can be challenging to detect due to the number of people who cross the border every day," reads the FBI advisory that calls cracking down on border corruption a top priority. "Drug trafficking, human trafficking and terrorism are potential threats facing the United States based on the underlying threat posed by border corruption."
The FBI Los Angeles Field Office's border corruption campaign covers U.S. ports of entry, such as border crossings, airports and seaports like the Port of Los Angeles, which includes the ports in Long Beach and San Pedro. Those who see something suspicious are directed to tips.fbi.gov and the 24-hour-day FBI line in LA: 310.477.6565. "Reward money may be available in exchange for valuable information that leads to an arrest," states the FBI advisory. "Confidentiality is guaranteed."