Sunday, May 13, 2018

Asylum Fraud and Tax Fraud, All in One Case

In a press release issued on April 27, 2018, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas detailed the conviction in sentencing of two Nigerian nationals for their roles in a Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF) scheme. That case underscores the more serious consequences of asylum fraud in the United States.
The defendants in that case entered the United States illegally and applied for asylum, claiming to be from Sudan. As the U.S. Attorney's Office explains it:
Neither defendant had any documents establishing who they were or where they were from. Both claims were eventually denied by DHS because these claims were false. Both defendants could not be deported back to Sudan, since they were not from Sudan, so they remained in the U.S. and were given permission to work.
The pair were not idle in this country. Rather, they:
[U]sed their time in the United States to participate in a fraudulent scheme to steal the identity of hundreds of U.S. citizens and exploit those identities for financial gain by filing fraudulent tax returns and by opening credit cards in the names of the victims. They also laundered the proceeds of other fraudulent activity in furtherance of the conspiracy. The intended loss of the fraud conspiracy was approximately $3.9 million dollars.
The non-asylum fraud aspect of that case was rather straightforward. The defendants, among other means, used cleaning services that they operated in the Austin, Texas, area to obtain the personal identification information (PII) of their victims in the United States. Specifically, they "loot[ed]" offices that they cleaned for PII. "Among the locations victimized" through the scheme "were medical facilities, where patient files were stolen," as well as "the ARC Pooled Trust of Greater Austin, which helps provide Financial Security Services to people with developmental and physical disabilities."
There are many significant points to be made about this case. First, the case makes it clear that even aliens who are unsuccessful in their fraudulent asylum claims can still game the asylum system to remain in the United States.
Second, it highlights the low standards of proof for asylum relief. As section 208(b)(1)(B)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states:
Read the rest from Andrew R. Arthur HERE.

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