"Marriage fraud is a federal crime, and can have grave consequences," said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Todd Siegel. Siegel, who works in HSI’s Identity and Benefit Fraud Unit, said, "Marriage fraud is neither a trivial nor victimless crime."
Marriage fraud poses a national security threat, damages the integrity of the U.S. immigration system and endangers U.S. citizens who enter into these fake unions.
The 9/11 and Terrorist Travel Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorists Attacks upon the United States, cites a U.S. Government intelligence report that stated that Abu Zubaydah, who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002 and held in Guantanamo Bay "said that some of the al Qaeda operatives married American women to obtain U.S. visas." The report also stated that Khalid Sheikh Mohamed (KSM), the principal architect of 9/11, "believed it was a fantastic mechanism for operatives to acquire valid documents."
To help educate the public on the dangers of marriage fraud, Siegel is spearheading an HSI nationwide campaign, which began last year, to stop marriage fraud. A massive push of training, print materials, posters and social media is designed to inform U.S. citizens about the dangers of marriage fraud. HSI is alerting partner organizations of current trends and concerns, raising awareness and spreading the word to deter individuals from getting married under false pretenses. HSI’s message is that U.S. citizenship, the most valuable benefit offered by this country, is not for sale and there are consequences for those who commit this crime.
What is marriage fraud? Basically, it’s when a foreign national and a U.S. citizen get married, not to establish a life together, but as a means for the foreign national to remain in the United States indefinitely. The goal of a foreign national who commits marriage fraud is to become a lawful permanent resident and ultimately, a U.S. citizen. Foreign nationals who marry U.S. citizens do not have to wait for a visa, and after a 2-year conditional period there are no restrictions on status. Additionally, marriage fraud is one of the shortest pathways to U.S. citizenship, which can be granted after only three years of lawful permanent resident status.
Obtaining that status (commonly referred to as a "green card") opens a lot of doors. It allows freedom of movement within the United States – and the unfettered ability to travel abroad and return freely. It authorizes employment and provides access to government buildings, bank accounts and businesses. Moreover, attaining U.S. citizenship by fraudulent means allows opportunities for nefarious individuals to harm the United States.
In some cases, a foreign national dupes a U.S. citizen into marriage by professing true love. In other cases, the U.S. citizen is in on the scam, accepting payment as part of the deception. The "couple" usually plan to get divorced later, believing no one will be the wiser. Even more blatant is when facilitators are involved, who for a fee, find U.S. citizens willing to enter into marriage fraud schemes. In some cases, facilitators fill out necessary paperwork and also prepare the participants for their in-person interview(s) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials.
Wedded bliss is not the outcome for U.S. citizens who are either duped into marriage fraud or voluntarily say "I do" under false pretenses. The marriage can become abusive in many ways, including physically, financially and/or emotionally. Additionally, marriage fraud comes with the potential ramifications of legal proceedings, financial penalties and prison sentences.
A recent HSI investigation in Los Angeles, Calif., exemplifies how marriage fraud is a thriving illegal enterprise. On March 26, 2014, Alake Terry Ilegbameh was sentenced to 26 months in federal prison for arranging multiple fraudulent marriages.
County clerks, the officials who issue marriage licenses in most states, understand more than most the magnitude of this issue. The National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks and its members are key partners in HSI’s efforts to thwart this serious crime.
The bottom line is that there are serious consequences for those associated with sham marriages. For more information on marriage fraud visit ICE.gov.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For more information, visit www.ICE.gov. To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423 or complete our tip form.
FOR IMMEDIATE RLEASE
Kitchen & Beyond Corp Makes its mark in the kitchen cabinets Industry by fullfiiling a much needed new approach to the old problem of purchasing custom cabinets.
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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved the statutory maximum 10,000 petitions for U-1 nonimmigrant status (U visas) for fiscal year 2014. This marks the fifth straight year that USCIS has reached the statutory maximum since it began issuing U visas in 2008.
Each year, 10,000 U visas are available for victims of certain qualifying crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to help law enforcement authorities investigate or prosecute those crimes. A U visa petition requires certification of assistance from law enforcement.
Congress created the U visa program to strengthen the law enforcement community’s ability to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other crimes, while also offering protection to victims. More than 89,600 victims and their family members have received U visas since the program was implemented in 2008.
Though USCIS has reached its statutory cap of 10,000 U visas, it will continue to review pending petitions for eligibility. USCIS will send a letter to all eligible petitioners who, due solely to the cap, are not granted U-1 visas, notifying them that they are on a waiting list to receive a U visa when visas again become available and what options they have in the interim. Petitioners and qualifying family members must continue to meet eligibility requirements at the time the U visa is issued.
USCIS will resume issuing U visas on Oct. 1, 2014, the first day of fiscal year 2015, when visas become available again.
Department of Justice
Federal agents arrested yesterday Bryan D’Antonio, 47, of Brea, Calif., and Charles Wayne Farris, 53, of Aliso Viejo, Calif., for operating the Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group, businesses that allegedly offered bogus loan modification assistance to struggling homeowners. Attorney Ronald Rodis, 49, of Irvine, Calif., surrendered today to federal agents on charges alleging that he participated in, and lent his name and the law license he formerly possessed to, the fraudulent operation. All three defendants were named in a federal indictment unsealed yesterday following an investigation by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation.
According to the indictment, as a result of the scheme run by D’Antonio, Farris and Rodis, more than 1,800 financially distressed homeowners lost a total of at least $12 million in fees they paid to the companies. Many homeowners also lost their homes to foreclosure. During a nine month period that began in October 2008, the Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group allegedly defrauded distressed homeowners by making false promises and guarantees regarding the companies’ ability to negotiate loan modifications from the homeowners’ mortgage lenders, falsely representing that a “team of attorneys” would represent the homeowners and advising homeowners to cease making their mortgage payments.
“These arrests send a strong message to those who would prey on vulnerable homeowners during these tough financial times,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery. “If you defraud homeowners, you will be found and brought to justice.”
The Rodis Law Group, and its successor company, America’s Law Group, allegedly advertised loan modification assistance on radio stations nationwide. According to the indictment, many of these radio advertisements featured Rodis’ voice telling homeowners that a “team of experienced attorneys,” who were “highly skilled in negotiating lower interest rates and even lowering your principal balance,” would negotiate with mortgage lenders. Sales staff hired and trained by Farris and D’Antonio allegedly told interested homeowners that Rodis Law Group was “100% successful,” “routinely lowered monthly payments” and obtained reduced principal balances. According to the indictment, once the defendants and their co-conspirators convinced homeowners to pay a fee of several thousand dollars, little to no effort was made to obtain loan modifications. After making their payments, homeowners who tried to get updates on the status of their cases were often unable to contact anyone at either company.
The indictment further alleges that D’Antonio committed these crimes after having been convicted of mail and wire fraud for his role in a previous telemarketing scheme. The previous scheme resulted in a civil case by the Federal Trade Commission and ultimately a court order, entered in 2001, which permanently banned D’Antonio from participating in future telemarketing operations. The indictment in this case alleges that D’Antonio committed criminal contempt of court by directing the telemarketing activities of Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group and by misrepresenting the services they provided.
“Posing as successful lawyers, these defendants offered struggling homeowners false hopes and bogus promises of quality legal representation,” said U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California André Birotte Jr. “The market offering loan modifications is rife with fraud, which is why we have redoubled our efforts to investigate and prosecute those who engage in financial crimes that target distressed homeowners.”
“The unconscionable act of scamming homeowners already facing foreclosure is far too common,” said Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office Bill Lewis. “This indictment should send a clear message to anyone contemplating similar crimes, and should also remind potential victims to be cautious before paying fees to those offering financial rescue, regardless of whether the solicitor holds a law degree.”
D’Antonio, Farris and Rodis are each charged with 10 felony counts – nine counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. Each of these counts carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment. In addition, D’Antonio is charged with 13 counts of criminal contempt for violating the 2001 court order. Criminal contempt of court has no statutory maximum penalty.
This indictment was brought in coordination with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s Mortgage Fraud Working Group. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov .
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
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This Sunday, October 13, 2013, after 4 p.m., Café Athens, blocks from Astoria's 30th Avenue subway station, will host its first Brazilian Night, which will include Brazil’s national dish, Feijoada, Samba music and Brazilian Soccer.
Café Athens located at 3207 30th Avenue, uniquely situated on its own triangular block in the heart of Astoria, serves as a gateway into the dynamic neighborhood. During warm weather it’s the sidewalk café scene is what makes Café Astoria one of the most desirable spot in Astoria. Rows of tiny tables fill the triangular block with chattering, smoking, scene-stealing Astorians, along with their dogs, children, and babies in strollers, occupy every corner while local groups congregate to drink wine and exchange stories, greeting neighbors or simply sipping an espresso while watching the people walk by.
This Sunday begins a new Café Athens tradition, Brazilian Night with the help of a Brazilian chef preparing the most famous Brazilian dish, feijoada, a recipe of bean stew with rice and pork meat garnished with “farofa” (mandioca, a root from the rainforest, mixed with maize flour and oil. And of course, no feijoada meal is complete without a Leblon’s Perfect caipirinha to drink. The Caipirinha is the national cocktail from Brazil prepared from fresh lime, natural sugar, and mixed with Cachaça and ice,
Savor the Feijoada while Turma do Samba, an authentic Brazilian samba group plays. Samba is one of the most popular music styles in Brazil. Since it’s beginning, samba has spread through out the world with its unique and contagious rhythm that expresses so well the very nature of Brazilian culture.
Along with large Screen TV’s showing live Brazilian Soccer games, this Sunday’s event at Astoria Café is one not to be missed. Join us.
Feijoada dinner is $15 a plate and the Leblon Perfect caipirinha is $8 a serving.
There is NO cover charge.
For more information call Café Athens at 718-626-2164
PRESS CONTACT: Cassie Goldberg
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Modern Gentlemen Announce Launch of The Perfect Part
New York, NY – September 16, 2013 – The Modern Gentlemen, a New York City-based company that aims to revolutionize the world of men’s grooming and styling products, announced this month the launch of a brand new styling tool for men.
The Perfect Part is a durable, stylish comb that any man can use to create a flawless side part. The design features two sturdy combs, bound by a spring-loaded lever, so that anyone can quickly achieve a straight line, every time.
Founder and inventor Travis Shevlin developed the idea for The Perfect Part in his New York City apartment based on his own personal need for the tool.
"I began gravitating toward what I like to call the ‘strong gentlemen’s side part,’ using a comb to part my hair every day, and realized it was taking me way too much energy and time to create a style that’s supposed to be a simple, classic look,” said Shevlin. “A light bulb went off, and the idea for the dual comb was born.”
Raising more than 25 percent of their $20,000 launch goal in just one week, The Perfect Part is currently in fundraising phase using the grassroots crowd funding platform Indiegogo.
“We’ve seen more and more urban men replicating the ‘Ryan Gosling’ look. ((With so many young, modern gentlemen adopting the classic side-part hairstyle, we know The Perfect Part will fill a need out there, just as it has for me)),” Shevlin added.
Those interested in buying a comb can receive one once the campaign is fully funded by donating an amount as low as $20. Those with social media followings of more than 5,000 can receive one for free by promoting the campaign on their platforms using the campaign link and hashtag #ThePerfectPart.
To learn more and help fund The Perfect Part, visit http://igg.me/at/theperfectpart/x/4634157.
About The Modern Gentlemen:
The mission of The Modern Gentlemen is to make it simple for men to achieve a sophisticated, modern look by revolutionizing the world of men's grooming and styling products. Their debut creation, The Perfect Part, allows men to achieve their perfect hairstyle in three easy steps. To learn more, visit The Perfect Part on Indiegogo, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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The Ginarte Law Firm has settled the case of Ms. Victoria Benson, the first and only female police officer at the Denville Police Department, who was repeatedly subjected to gender based discrimination and harassment by the Denville Police Department.
The settlement of $650,000.00 in the matter of Victoria Benson v. Township of Denville was entered into, after evidence at trial established that Ms. Benson's complaints of harassment and discrimination to her superiors, were ignored. Trial attorneys Adam J. Kleinfeldt, Esq. and Debra McGarvey, Esq. also uncovered evidence during the course of the litigation, that(( the Denville Police Department, in retaliation for Ms. Benson's complaints, devised a plan to subject her to increased levels of harassment and discrimination)).
Joseph A. Ginarte, the founder, was named in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers for 2013 by the National Trial Lawyers. The attorneys at the Ginarte Law Firm have over 150 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, LLP, have been serving clients in Newark, New York City, Perth Amboy, Union City, Elizabeth, Clifton, Queens and throughout the New York and New Jersey metro area. With a team of 28 attorneys and 100 support staff, the firm concentrates on a variety of legal matters including personal injury, workers compensation, employment law, social security and construction accidents.
For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C.—Today, the Immigration Policy Center held a tele-briefing to discuss who the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. are and what lessons we've learned from previous broad legalization programs. The central question in the immigration reform debate for much of the American public will be how to create a pathway to legal status for the 11 million immigrants currenty living in the U.S. without authorization. How this pathway will be shaped turns on critical questions such as who are the unauthorized immigrants who would be attaining legal status? What would the impact be on the U.S. economy were so many unauthorized immigrants to be legalized?
The first answer is easier: undocumented immigrants are just like everyone else. They are adults and children, mothers and fathers, homeowners and churchgoers. And if they are put on a path leading to legal status, it would have a positive impact on communities and our economy. Workers with legal status earn higher wages, and these extra earnings generate more tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments, as well as more consumer spending, which sustains more jobs in U.S. businesses.
During the briefing, Sherri Kassoudji, Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan, explained some of the lessons about legalization learned from the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). Providing a legal status to unauthorized immigrants led to higher wages for undocumented workers and native born workers alike, as well asincreased tax revenue and greater investment in their families and communities. “What legalizing the workers meant was that it was a fabulous workforce enhancement program,” Kassoudji said. And it meant that people could begin to prepare for their lives with legal status, especially for families with children. “These children could prepare for their futures just like everyone else,” she said.
About 2 million undocumented immigrants came to the U.S. as children, said Roberto G. Gonzales, Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, during the call. Half of them are now young adults, he explained. That means the undocumented immigrants who grew up in the U.S. internalize the ideas of the American Dream in school, but Gonzales said, “As they approach adolescence, as they see their friends get licenses, get first jobs, and they stay stuck, they experience a dramatic rupture in their life trajectories.” He added, “It really compels us to think of the benefits of legalization over the tragedies of exclusion.”
The 11 million undocumented immigrants make up about a third of the foreign-born population in the U.S., according to Rob Paral, Principal of Rob Paral and Associates. He said on the call the undocumented immigrants live all across the U.S. “When you look at undocumented immigrants, you need to look at the fact they live in families, they live in households,” Paral said, and these households can include legal residents and citizens. “It’s important to note that they [undocumented immigrants] are integrated in mixed families,” he said.
To view the reports the IPC released and re-released today, click the links below:
The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), established in 2003, is the policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office. Division of the American Immigration Council.
The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), established in 2003, is the policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.
Division of the American Immigration Council.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On May 22, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched the first phase of our new electronic immigration system, known as USCIS ELIS. Beginning on January 14, 2013, new USCIS ELIS features include significant improvements to the way attorneys and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representatives electronically interact with clients. The new system brings the agency closer to realizing the Web-based future of immigration services and is part of USCIS’s continuous effort to better serve our customers.
Currently, USCIS ELIS is available for certain students and visitors who need to file a stand-alone Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (Form I-539). Future releases will add form types and functions to the system, gradually expanding to cover most USCIS immigration benefits. More information about USCIS ELIS is available online.
USCIS will host multiple webinars on Thursday, February 14, 2013 to give interested individuals an opportunity to view the different features of USCIS ELIS and ask questions about the system. The schedule for the webinars is as follows:
Time (all times Eastern)
Thursday, February 14
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 14
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
To Participate in a Session:
Any interested parties may participate in these webinars. If you wish to attend, please email the Public Engagement Division at Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov no later than the day before the session.
To participate in a particular session, please reference the following in the subject line:
If you plan to attend the first session, please reference “USCIS ELIS Webinar – morning”
If you plan to attend the second session, please reference “USCIS ELIS Webinar – afternoon”
Please include your full name and the organization you represent in the body of the email.
Following your registration, we will provide an email confirmation with additional details about how to participate in the webinar you selected.
We look forward to engaging with you!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Party Celebrating Our New Reporter,
Mike Orgera, Energy Columnist , in front center,
Joao Vianna, Editor-in-Chief, rear
January 13, 2013 – New York City - Jornal.us, a recognized Google News Provider, is expanded its staff once again. A new staff writter has come on board, Michael K. Orgera. Mr. Orgera attended the University of Maryland at College Park prior to graduating from Florida International University. Following graduation, he worked in the financial services industry for a number of years after which he moved to Tel-Aviv and founded IsraeLife, a startup travel service company for young adults who toured Israel as part of the Taglit-Birthright Program. In 2008, he changed gears and took on roles in business development for various research and development companies, all of which focused in clean technologies. It was during these years that his interest in the environmental impact of the energy industry flourished.
In recent years there has been a significant movement towards the increased commercialization of various renewable energy sources. His current employment is in converting gasoline driven trucks into NGVs, or Natural Gas Vehicles. These vehicles look like any other vehicle. However, NGVs operate on natural gas as a different source to the fuel we characteristically pump into our vehicles' tanks.
According to www.cleanenergyfuels.com, “found in reservoirs deep below the earth's surface and ocean floors, natural gas is formed by the decay of organic matter. Natural gas reserves come from large quantities of plant and animal remains that have accumulated between layers of sediment on the bottoms of lakes and oceans over millions of years. The pressure from the layers of sediment and the heat from the earth's core convert the organic materials into natural gas, petroleum and coal. All oil deposits contain natural gas, although natural gas is often found without oil.”
"Our station was built and is operated by Clean Energy, the leading company for CNG site development in the country," said Mike DelBovo, President, Saddle Creek Transportation. “Cleaner than diesel, CNG produces up to 23% less greenhouse gas emissions in medium-to heavy-duty vehicles. CNG fuel consistently costs up to $1.50 less per gallon than diesel. In addition, the United States has abundant reserves of natural gas.”
According to Joao Vianna, Editor in Chief of Jornal.us, Michael K. Orgera comes to our newspaper with significant knowledge in renewable energy sources, and has a proven record of past sales experience for companies involved with the environment.((Our employment verification process is quite thorough, and Mike came though with flying colors; Respected by his prior employers and peers in the industry)). Now he will be a source of information on the environmental impact of energy sources for many thousands of readers; in the future perhaps millions. We are very pleased and proud to have him on board.”
Jornal.US is published daily in English and Portuguese. Thousands of readers follow our columnists thought the world. In the U.S. Jornal.us is the second most visited web news site in the Portuguese language. www.ofio.net.
For More Information contact firstname.lastname@example.org