A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agent today admitted guilt for his role in a bribery scheme that illegally funneled confidential Department of Homeland Security records to a Los Angeles immigration lawyer, doctored information in secret databases and sanctioned sham marriages involving foreign nationals.
Inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, James Dominguez changed his original plea from not guilty in front of U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford, a move that will likely win him a reduction in punishment.
Dominguez, a Ventura resident, faces a maximum punishment of five years in prison, a three-year period of supervised probation as well as a $250,000 fine.
The plea deal was a bargain for the special agent, who only admitted to making false statements.
A federal grand jury also accused him of defrauding the U.S. by accepting bribes beginning in 2001 from immigration lawyer Kwang Man “John” Lee, himself a former U.S. immigration official.
Those bribes included expensive gifts, televisions, computers and three, all-paid vacations to Thailand, according to the May 2013 indictment.
Others charged in indictments were:
–Jesus Figueroa, supervisory officer at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
–Paul Lovingwood, former USCIS officer;
–Michael Anders, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer; and
–Mirei Hofmann, a Japanese native seeking citizenship.
Dominguez remains free from custody on a $5,000 appearance bond and must return to court in Santa Ana on August 11 for sentencing.
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.