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Viewing cable 09HERMOSILLO71, FRAUD SUMMARY---HERMOSILLO (SEPTEMBER 2008-FEBRUARY 2009)

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09HERMOSILLO71 2009-03-24 18:06 2011-02-18 12:12 UNCLASSIFIED Consulate Hermosillo
Appears in these articles:
http://wikileaks.jornada.com.mx/notas/fraudes-visas-guadalajara-hermosillo
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DE RUEHHO #0071/01 0831851
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R 241851Z MAR 09
FM AMCONSUL HERMOSILLO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2689
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEHHO/AMCONSUL HERMOSILLO 3228
RHMFIUU/HQ BICE INTEL WASHINGTON DC
198618
2009-03-24 18:51:00
09HERMOSILLO71
Consulate Hermosillo
UNCLASSIFIED

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DE RUEHHO #0071/01 0831851
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241851Z MAR 09
FM AMCONSUL HERMOSILLO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2689
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEHHO/AMCONSUL HERMOSILLO 3228
RHMFIUU/HQ BICE INTEL WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 HERMOSILLO 000071 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR CA/FPP, DEPT ALSO PASS TO KCC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KFRD CVIS CPAS CMGT PTER MX
SUBJECT: FRAUD SUMMARY---HERMOSILLO (SEPTEMBER 2008-FEBRUARY 2009) 
 
HERMOSILLO 00000071  001.2 OF 005 
 
 
A.   CONSULATE HERMOSILLO CONDITIONS - There is significant 
fraud within the consular district, most of which is related to 
the fabrication or alteration of documents that are used to 
demonstrate employment and economic solvency.  Most of the other 
fraud encountered relates to concealing illegal or illicit 
behavior such as a history of controlled substance violations, 
alien smuggling or unlawful presence in the United States. 
Applicants from Sinaloa, in the southern part of the consular 
district, tend to present more fraudulent documents and their 
quality tends to be higher. Sinaloa is also the source for most 
of the drug trafficking and alien smuggling cases the Fraud 
Prevention Unit (FPU) investigates. 
 
 
 
B.   NON-IMMIGRANT VISA FRAUD - The majority of the fraud at the 
 
Consulate is related to the issuance of BBBCC cards or Machine 
Readable Visas (MRV). However, during the previous year there 
has been a marked increase in detection of fraud associated with 
P and O visas. 
 
 
 
i.      STATISTICS - The reporting period for the statistics is 
September through February. Over this period the FPU investigated 
 
426 cases and determined that 134 of them were fraudulent. The 
result was a total of 134 refusals including family members. 
There were 43 cases marked clearly fraudulent by the 
adjudicators (using the "Suspicious Docs" box), resulting in 27 
refusals, including family members. There were many more cases 
in which fraud was suspected or known, but that were not 
formally referred to the FPU as the applicants did not overcome 
214(b). The decrease in cases referred through the NIV system 
compared with previous reporting periods is attributable to a 
more than 30 percent drop in visa workload in Hermosillo, yet 
reflects a consistent level of fraud albeit lower overall case 
numbers during this reporting period. The incidence of fraud has 
remained at consistent levels over the last few reporting 
periods. 
 
 
 
ii.      DEATH FRAUD - Post continues to see falsified 
documentation regarding the alleged death of a spouse or parent 
of an applicant. The majority of the situations involve the 
applicant attempting to distance him or herself from the 
allegedly deceased spouse, who had committed a crime or had a 
visa ineligibility or, in some situations, was alive and well 
and working in the United States illegally. Adjudicators are 
trained to be suspicious of cases involving young and recently 
widowed individuals, particularly when the manner of death is 
accidental or violent and where the death certificate describes 
the official cause of death in layman's (i.e., non-medical) 
terms (e.g., "firearm" or "car accident").  Most of the 
fraudulent claims have been uncovered through questioning of the 
applicants, which reveals inconsistencies in their stories. 
Adjudicators are also able to utilize the FPU's contacts with 
the civil registries in the states of Sinaloa and Sonora to 
check on the validity of death certificates presented in the 
interviews. Websites and blogs have also been useful in 
uncovering inconsistencies and misrepresentations and often give 
specific details regarding the spouse's death. Frequently these 
cases result in uncovering links to narcotics trafficking rings. 
 
 
 
iii.      MARRIAGE FRAUD - Post has had several cases of claims 
to marriage that were determined to be false. Almost all of the 
incidents were uncovered when the alleged spouses were 
questioned separately because of suspicions about the validity 
of the documents or claims. The prevalence of union libre 
(common-law) marriages in Mexico makes ascertaining true 
relationships difficult and applicants often use this ambiguous 
terminology to obfuscate their true socioeconomic ties and 
intentions. Applicants have presented documents attesting to 
their legal spouse's employment and solvency while concealing 
that they do not in fact live with this person but rather with a 
long-term union libre partner. 
 
 
 
iv.      PARENT FRAUD - It is very common for people to falsely 
represent themselves as the parents of a minor child by 
presenting a valid Mexican birth certificate issued on false 
information. In a presentation the head of the civil registry 
for the state of Sonora gave at the consulate, we learned that 
the civil registry does not question or investigate, or 
otherwise concern itself with, the legitimacy of parentage 
 
HERMOSILLO 00000071  002.2 OF 005 
 
 
claims.  Rather, it simply accepts an individual's claim that 
the child is his or hers (even if the alleged parent is quite 
elderly or there is a significant delay in reporting the birth) 
and issues a valid birth certificate.  FPU has determined that 
the majority of such cases involve grandparents or other 
relatives claiming to be the child's parents, oftentimes because 
one or both of the child's natural parents are illegally present 
in the United States or otherwise ineligible for visa issuance. 
Since the certificates are validly issued and registered, the 
onus is on the adjudicator to uncover the fraud through 
questioning and common sense. Typical fraud indicators are the 
age of the mother at the time of birth, the age gap between the 
alleged parent's other children, late registration of the birth 
certificate (more than six months), and the alleged mother's 
inability to credibly describe the circumstances of the birth or 
pregnancy (including claims that she gave birth at home with no 
doctor present, had no pre-natal care, etc.). In two recent 
cases, consular officers uncovered this type of fraud by noting 
close CLASS hits for prior 214(b) refusals. In both cases there 
was a slight name difference (different second surname) and the 
applicant had two valid Mexican identities. In one of these 
cases, FPU determined that during the first application the 
alleged father was found to be a narcotics trafficker and that 
the minor child's aunt had posed as his mother during the second 
application. The fact that children under seven years of age are 
not required to appear for these interviews is a significant 
vulnerability because adjudicators are unable to observe the 
interaction between child and "parent". 
 
 
 
v.      H2 VISAS - H2 applicants routinely present themselves 
inaccurately concerning their previous illegal presence in the 
U.S. Generally speaking, most fraud is perpetrated on an 
individual level. Company and or petitioner perpetrated fraud 
among H2A and H2B petitioners is low, although Post has recently 
adjudicated several cases in which the facilitating company was 
charging exorbitant fees to applicants who provided information 
during their interviews that contradicted the information 
provided to DHS during their petition requests. Post continues 
to send these petitions to DHS for revocation consideration. 
Post also investigates several suspicious cases involving 
"head-hunter" agencies that find labor for agricultural 
companies or construction businesses. In many instances, we have 
contacted the "head hunter" agencies and have inquired about 
contracts only to find that there are no contracts in place 
other than verbal recognition on the part of the company 
receiving the labor. The FPU hired a new LES member in January 
2008 who concentrates on investigating H and L petitions. Since 
the addition of the LES member, we have developed a screening 
process for petitioning companies. The FPU conducts research on 
the petitioner using Google and Lexus Nexus to confirm the 
validity of the petitioning company. In August 2008, the FPM and 
the LES that conducts H & L investigations traveled to Monterrey 
to observe their FPU and how they conduct H & L investigations 
and since then several of these measures have been incorporated 
into Hermosillo's investigative practices. 
 
 
 
vi.      P and O Visas - Post continues to investigate multiple 
P-1 and O-2 petitions filed over the past year by Susan M. 
Jeannette Talent Agent, aka The Law Offices of Kevin M. Tracy, 
aka North County Legalization Services. The results of these 
investigations lead us to firmly believe the petitioner is 
attempting to subvert immigration laws in order to obtain visas 
for clients under repeatedly false pretense and/or outright 
misrepresentation. Petition revocation requests were sent to KCC 
on several petitions involving the same petitioner. The FPU has 
also learned that other consulates in Mexico have had similar 
experiences with this petitioner and have sent several cases to 
KCC for petition revocation consideration. In the course of our 
investigation, we have obtained fraudulent contracts for 
performances produced by the petitioner and signed confessions 
by an applicant that implicates the petitioner directly in a 
scheme to fraudulently obtain a visa.  We have requested that 
KCC FPU open an investigation on this petitioner and have also 
referred this case to the A/RSO-I at Post. 
 
 
 
C.   IMMIGRANT VISA FRAUD - Post does not process Immigrant 
Visas 
 
 
 
D.   DIVERSITY VISAS - Post does not process diversity visas 
 
 
 
 
HERMOSILLO 00000071  003.2 OF 005 
 
 
E.   AMERICAN CITIZEN SERVICES AND U.S. PASSPORT FRAUD - The ACS 
fraud concerning passport applications has been negligible to 
this point, though it is expected to increase under the recently 
implemented Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) land 
border crossing requirements. In this reporting period, FPU 
investigated 7 cases of suspected passport fraud. Six of these 
cases resulted in a finding of fraud not indicated and one is 
outstanding with a suggestion of DNA evidence submission. 
 
 
 
F.    ADOPTION FRAUD - Post does not process adoptions of 
Mexican nationals by American citizens 
 
 
 
G.    USE OF DNA TESTING - Post primarily uses DNA testing as a 
means of assuring that transmission requirements are met for 
CRBA cases. ACS has used DNA testing in six instances during 
this reporting period. In four of the six incidences, the DNA 
results have supported the applicant's claims; two cases are 
outstanding. DNA is oftentimes the only viable means of 
confirming the relationships that are claimed due to either a 
lack of evidence or conflicting evidence. Post makes suggestions 
for DNA testing to be conducted on such cases but makes it known 
that DNA tests are not required. The most common DNA cases are 
those in which the father of the child in question was either 
not married to the mother at the time of conception or was 
married to another woman. ACS has also had multiple cases where 
a man has a family in the U.S. but also claims to be the father 
of children with a Mexican mother. DNA testing has also been 
suggested in cases when the identity of the mother is in 
question. However, in several cases the applicants have backed 
down from their claims of being the biological parents or simply 
have never completed the test. In these few rare cases the lack 
of willingness to complete the DNA test is usually seen as 
admission that the claim was false. FPU began an investigation 
on February 24 involving a Mexican woman and a member of the 
U.S. armed forces attempting to obtain a CRBA for a child she 
claims to have given birth to recently. Because of 
inconsistencies and changes in her story regarding the 
approximate date of conception, where she received her prenatal 
care, FPU requested that she consider DNA testing. She was 
unwilling to do undergo this procedure, stating that she wanted 
the alleged father to believe her story without submitting 
proof. Corroborating evidence such as the absence of a record in 
the federal online birth registry, a mismatch on footprint size 
on the birth record, and her claim that the child was born in 
Durango but registered in Sonora also suggest fraudulent 
activity. FPU is current continuing the investigation. 
 
 
 
H.   ASYLUM AND OTHER DHS BENEFIT FRAUD - No cases have been 
uncovered during the reporting period. 
 
 
 
I.   ALIEN SMUGGLING, TRAFFICKING, ORGANIZED CRIME, TERRORIST 
TRAVEL - During this reporting period, post has investigated 
several cases involving suspected alien smuggling networks that 
provide fraudulent documents to NIV applicants. The FPU 
regularly interviews applicants suspected of having association 
with the smuggling networks and generally have encountered an 
unwillingness to provide any information. Organized crime 
related to narcotics trafficking in the consular district is an 
on-going concern for Post. During the previous reporting period, 
the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control 
(OFAC) designated several individuals residing in our consular 
district pursuant to the 1999 Foreign Narcotics Kingpin 
Designation act. Post revoked visas for each individual named 
who had been issued in Hermosillo. 
 
 
 
J.   DS CRIMINAL FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS - The A/RSO-I program at 
Post began operations in January 2008. The FPM consults directly 
with the NIV Chief, ACS Chief and/or CSC regarding cases that 
are deemed appropriate for referral to the A/RSO-I, in 
accordance with the SOP established during the previous 
reporting period. There are three broad categories of fraud that 
are referred to the A/RSO-I. (1) Cases that appear to have links 
to terrorism, organized crime, large scale alien smuggling or 
trafficking in persons; (2) cases involving wanted persons (WP 
Class hits); (3) cases indicating a large, complex and/or 
on-going fraud operation. The FPM and A/RSO-I hold bi-weekly 
meetings to discuss on-going cases. The NIV chief, CSC and RSO 
also attend the meetings. The meetings are used to track the 
progress of cases and to provide feedback to the consular 
section on pending cases. 
 
HERMOSILLO 00000071  004.2 OF 005 
 
 
 
 
 
K.   HOST COUNTRY PASSPORT, IDENTITY DOCUMENTS AND CIVIL 
 
REGISTRY - The Mexican government has updated the Mexican 
passport twice since the beginning of 2008. The issuing 
government agency, Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE), 
has been cooperative in sharing information related to security 
features in each version of the passport. Post has incorporated 
the passport security features into the post-specific fraud 
training that it conducts with new officers. Identity documents 
are an on-going concern for both NIV and ACS. Mexican Citizens 
(or TCNs) can obtain with relative ease valid official identity 
documents from both the Sonoran and Sinaloan Government's Vital 
Records offices containing falsified information. The standards 
of proof for vital records are much less stringent than in the 
U.S. and Mexican Vital Records offices accept documents from 
citizens "bona fide" in the issuance of official identity 
documents. The cases most commonly observed are birth 
certificates obtained with falsified information. This is a 
particular area of vulnerability as Mexican Citizens can obtain 
a valid Mexican passport with a birth certificate obtained 
through fraudulent information. During this reporting period the 
FPU has investigating several incidents of suspected Mexican 
passport fraud whereby children have two known identities (as 
referred to in the section on parent fraud) as well as one case 
referred to us by the Lukeville, AZ POE in which the subject had 
a validly-issued Mexican passport, Sonora state driver's 
license, and federal voter ID card. SRE and the Sonora civil 
registry confirmed with FPU that while these documents were 
issued by competent state and federal authorities, the 
information, specifically the birth certificate, used to obtain 
them, was falsified. This case outlines the lax standards 
applied to citizenship determination by Mexican authorities as 
well as the ease with which individuals are able to suborn 
public officials to obtain primary documents attesting to their 
assumed identity. 
 
 
 
L.   COOPERATION WITH HOST GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES - The FPU 
continues to maintain good cooperation with both host government 
officials as well as contacts within private institutions such 
as banks. FPU and the NIV unit continue to secure access to 
local, state and federal government databases which greatly help 
resolve cases referred to FPU during ACS and NIV adjudications. 
The FPU has used these resources to assist not only the NIV and 
ACS sections, but also USCIS field offices in the U.S. seeking 
to verify applicants' sworn testimony. In once recent case, the 
FPU was able to show that an individual was involved in a 
bigamous relationship and therefore ineligible for residency as 
the spouse of a U.S. citizen. The A/RSO-I continues to hold 
meetings with officials from Procuraduria General de la 
Republica (PGR), Agencia Federal de Investigaciones (AFI), 
Policia Federal Preventiva (PFP), and Policia Estatal Preventiva 
(PEP) to address issues regarding U.S. passport fraud and human 
trafficking. The A/RSO-I reports a willingness on the part of 
the PGR to pursue prosecutions against individuals and 
organizations that perpetrate visa and passport-related fraud, 
although in practice these institutions often exhibit 
reservations in acting on these types of cases and when PGR or 
AFI have made arrests, prosecution has been haphazard and 
unaggressive. Last month the ARSO-I program hired an FSN-I to 
assist in these investigations and Post is hopeful that this 
additional resource will increase local government cooperation. 
 
 
 
M.   AREAS OF PARTICULAR CONCERN - 
 
 
 
i.      The FPU and NIV unit have noticed an unusually high 
number of applicants filing lost/stolen visa reports, often 
months or years after the alleged incident. In many of these 
cases there are strong fraud indicators including late filing of 
a police report, filing in a jurisdiction other than where the 
alleged incident took place, and failing to report any other 
valuables lost in a home robbery or purse snatching. Because of 
the relative ease of selling or renting a border crossing card 
and the sheer number of I-275 reports on visa imposters using 
border crossing cards, Post has serious concerns about the 
incidence of visa sale/rental and is currently instituting 
policies to investigate these claims more thoroughly. Post 
continues to actively monitor the incidence in fraud associated 
with Border Crossing Cards. 
 
 
 
 
HERMOSILLO 00000071  005.2 OF 005 
 
 
ii.     Post has had great success in uncovering visa fraud 
using two simple but often overlooked technologies. The first is 
Independent Name Check (INK). Post has implemented a policy to 
perform an INK inquiry on spouses and parents of visa applicants 
who do not hold visas and are not applying at the same time as 
the applicant. Often this scenario results in finding out that 
the spouse or parent who "doesn't like to travel" actually has a 
history of unlawful presence in the U.S. and/or a criminal 
record. In some cases, such as drug trafficking, this results in 
an ineligibility finding for the applicant as well. The second 
strategy, recently recognized by Secretary Clinton in a town 
hall meeting in Washington, is utilizing social networking sites 
like Facebook. An officer in Hermosillo recently uncovered a 
network of young professionals from upper-class families 
residing in Boston, Massachusetts after having obtained border 
crossing cards for tourist travel. 
 
 
 
N.   STAFFING AND TRAINING - The FPM is a rotation among Entry 
Level Officers (ELO) at Post. Currently the FPM is XXXXXXXXXX, who took over the rotation in February 2008. ELO 
XXXXXXXXXXXX attended PC541 at FSI in February as he began his 
rotation. The next ELO rotation into the FPM role is expected in 
October 2009.  The FPU staff consists of three FSNs, XXXXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXX, all FSN-7s.  XXXXXXXXXXXX 
attended PC542 for FSN fraud investigators in March 2008 at FSI 
and XXXXXXXXXXXX attended a Mexico-wide FSN fraud conference in 
Ciudad Juarez in February 2008 and PC542 at FSI in March 2009. 
All FSNs in the FPU have participated in FSI Distance Learning. 
BREIDENSTINE