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Visa Fraud

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By John Murphy and John Murphy,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Caitlin Francke contributed to this article | December 19, 1998
Three Maryland residents charged with smuggling aliens into the country and committing visa fraud were indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday, U.S. Attorney Lynne Battaglia said.The alleged smuggling ring was in operation for two years before authorities broke it up in August, according to law enforcement officials.Joyce Perdue, 54, Robert Hendricks, 37, and Elizabeth Brown, 40, all of Woodbine, are charged with inducing at least 13 Estonians to apply for visas to work for their ministry, the Word of Faith World Outreach Organization.
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By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | January 10, 2003
A federal immigration judge who presides over sensitive visa and deportation cases sought a financial partnership with a Virginia firm whose clients could end up before him in court, according to a tape recording seized in a government raid. Judge D. Anthony Rogers' conduct appears to violate federal conflict of interest regulations and prompted a memo in March from an investigator for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service expressing exasperation that Rogers remains on the bench in Dallas.
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NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | March 29, 2001
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A key prosecution witness in a multimillion-dollar visa fraud case testified yesterday that one of the defendants admitted to him that what was being done with investors' funds was illegal. Simon Oliver of Sarasota, Fla., one of several victims to testify on the trial's opening day in U.S. District Court here, said he had found that money that was supposed to be kept in an escrow account had been diverted. Oliver testified that in a phone conversation with defendant James A. Geisler, "I told him, `What you're doing is illegal,' and he said, `Yes, but we need to do it.'" Geisler was a principal of the Interbank Group, a Herndon, Va., company set up to market a program under which foreign investors such as Oliver, a British native, could become permanent U.S. residents by investing $500,000 to $1 million in an American business.
NEWS
By Del Quentin Wilber and Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF | November 15, 2002
A 45-year-old Pakistani man was ordered held without bail on federal bribery and visa fraud charges yesterday, becoming the second person authorities have connected to a visa scheme operated out of a U.S. embassy in the Persian Gulf. Zia Ullah Hameedullah appeared briefly at a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, a day after entering the country in federal custody. Another hearing has been scheduled for Monday. Hameedullah is the second person charged in the scheme, joining Ramsi Al-Shannaq, who has been held in federal custody since his high-profile arrest in July.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | April 5, 2001
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - One of the defendants in an alleged visa fraud scam bragged to an employee that he had $5 million stashed in an offshore bank account and "no one would be able to find it," according to court testimony. Martin Turk, a former vice president of the Interbank Group, testified yesterday in U.S. District Court that James A. Geisler, one of the principals of the company, confided to him about the secret bank account two years ago. Turk, who was a vice president at the Herndon-based company, was called as a prosecution witness in the case against Geisler and James F. O'Connor, the head of Interbank.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | March 30, 2001
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A Bahamian businessman testified yesterday that he served as the middleman as hundreds of thousands of dollars were swiftly and routinely wired in and out of an offshore bank account for a firm whose principals are on trial for visa fraud. Testifying in U.S. District Court here, Howell Jones said the wire transfers, most of them in the $400,000 range, were so frequent that officials at one bank raised concerns that the actions appeared to resemble a money laundering scheme.
NEWS
By Walter F.Roche Jr. and Walter F.Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | December 23, 2000
Mario Carbini has a right to be angry. He is one of more than 100 victims of what federal officials have called a complex $134 million money laundering and visa fraud scheme. But Carbini, an accountant who came to the United States four years ago under a program designed to spur foreign investment, isn't nearly as angry at the two men who took his money as he is at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. "The INS is not partly, but totally, to blame," Carbini, 55, said recently.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | December 16, 2000
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Under attack by their clients, the court-appointed attorneys for two men charged in a multimillion-dollar visa fraud scheme were excused from their duties yesterday less than a month before the case was set for trial. U.S. District Court Judge Claude Hilton said he would find new lawyers for James F. O'Connor and James A. Geisler after an unusual 30-minute session in which one of the lawyers said he could no longer represent his client. Stating that one of the defendants made statements in court that "I know to be lies," Greg English, one of the defense lawyers, told Hilton, "I find myself in an untenable position.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | April 12, 2001
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - One of the defendants on trial in a visa fraud case openly admitted yesterday that dozens of foreign investors were lied to and millions of dollars were never placed in escrow accounts as promised. Calling his actions a "misrepresentation," James F. O'Connor testified that instead of being placed in separate bank accounts, the clients' money was used to fund ongoing expenses of the Interbank Group, the Herndon company he headed. The admission came during a daylong court session marked by the unusual.
NEWS
By Del Quentin Wilber and Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF | November 15, 2002
A 45-year-old Pakistani man was ordered held without bail on federal bribery and visa fraud charges yesterday, becoming the second person authorities have connected to a visa scheme operated out of a U.S. embassy in the Persian Gulf. Zia Ullah Hameedullah appeared briefly at a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, a day after entering the country in federal custody. Another hearing has been scheduled for Monday. Hameedullah is the second person charged in the scheme, joining Ramsi Al-Shannaq, who has been held in federal custody since his high-profile arrest in July.
NEWS
By Gail Gibson and Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF | July 11, 2002
Two federal judges in Baltimore rejected government efforts yesterday to detain a Jordanian charged in a large-scale visa fraud probe, saying the fact that he lived briefly with two of the Sept. 11 hijackers did not make him a dangerous suspect. U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan K. Gauvey said the government had "unfairly" tried to associate Rasmi Al-Shannaq with the terror attacks, and she ordered that he could be released under 24-hour electronic monitoring at his family's home in Southeast Baltimore.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | January 12, 2002
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Declaring that they cheated hundreds of people, depriving many of their life's savings, a federal judge sentenced the two masterminds of a multimillion-dollar visa fraud yesterday to serve about a decade each in prison. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III also ordered James F. O'Connor and James A Geisler, both Virginia residents, to make restitution of nearly $17.6 million, although he acknowledged that it was unlikely more than a fraction of that amount will ever be repaid.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | August 17, 2001
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A federal judge found two men guilty yesterday of all charges in a multimillion-dollar visa fraud scheme that duped hundreds of unwitting foreign investors seeking a permanent home in the United States. In a 49-page ruling issued late in the day, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III found James A. Geisler, 48, and James F. O'Connor, 44, guilty of all charges in an indictment issued just over a year ago. The two Virginia residents were convicted of visa fraud, conspiracy to commit visa and wire fraud, money laundering and filing false income tax returns.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | April 12, 2001
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - One of the defendants on trial in a visa fraud case openly admitted yesterday that dozens of foreign investors were lied to and millions of dollars were never placed in escrow accounts as promised. Calling his actions a "misrepresentation," James F. O'Connor testified that instead of being placed in separate bank accounts, the clients' money was used to fund ongoing expenses of the Interbank Group, the Herndon company he headed. The admission came during a daylong court session marked by the unusual.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | April 11, 2001
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Two defendants accused of visa fraud were torpedoed by their own witness yesterday when he testified that he was shocked to learn that they had tapped client funds that were supposed to be kept in special accounts. "I blew my top," said Dale M. Schwartz, an Atlanta immigration lawyer, when asked what he did when he learned that clients' escrow accounts had been raided. He said he told a staff lawyer at the Interbank Group, a Herndon, Va., company run by defendants James F. O'Connor and James A. Geisler, that "she ought to quit and get out of there."
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | April 10, 2001
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An IRS agent testified yesterday that the principals of a company that specialized in marketing an investor visa program failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in income on their tax returns. Robert A. Warren, the IRS agent, told U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III that by his calculations, James F. O'Connor, president of the Interbank Group of Herndon, failed to report income of more than $450,000 over a four-year period ending in 1996. He said co-defendant James A. Geisler failed to report slightly lesser amounts over the same period.
NEWS
By Gail Gibson and Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF | July 11, 2002
Two federal judges in Baltimore rejected government efforts yesterday to detain a Jordanian charged in a large-scale visa fraud probe, saying the fact that he lived briefly with two of the Sept. 11 hijackers did not make him a dangerous suspect. U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan K. Gauvey said the government had "unfairly" tried to associate Rasmi Al-Shannaq with the terror attacks, and she ordered that he could be released under 24-hour electronic monitoring at his family's home in Southeast Baltimore.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | January 12, 2002
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Declaring that they cheated hundreds of people, depriving many of their life's savings, a federal judge sentenced the two masterminds of a multimillion-dollar visa fraud yesterday to serve about a decade each in prison. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III also ordered James F. O'Connor and James A Geisler, both Virginia residents, to make restitution of nearly $17.6 million, although he acknowledged that it was unlikely more than a fraction of that amount will ever be repaid.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | April 5, 2001
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - One of the defendants in an alleged visa fraud scam bragged to an employee that he had $5 million stashed in an offshore bank account and "no one would be able to find it," according to court testimony. Martin Turk, a former vice president of the Interbank Group, testified yesterday in U.S. District Court that James A. Geisler, one of the principals of the company, confided to him about the secret bank account two years ago. Turk, who was a vice president at the Herndon-based company, was called as a prosecution witness in the case against Geisler and James F. O'Connor, the head of Interbank.
NEWS
By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Walter F. Roche Jr.,SUN STAFF | March 30, 2001
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A Bahamian businessman testified yesterday that he served as the middleman as hundreds of thousands of dollars were swiftly and routinely wired in and out of an offshore bank account for a firm whose principals are on trial for visa fraud. Testifying in U.S. District Court here, Howell Jones said the wire transfers, most of them in the $400,000 range, were so frequent that officials at one bank raised concerns that the actions appeared to resemble a money laundering scheme.
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