Illegal Cash Buys U.S. Citizenship
DECEMBER 01, 2006
A high-ranking supervisor at the Department of Homeland Security accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes over a decade in exchange for “authentic” United States citizenship documents.
The Homeland Security veteran, Robert Schofield, has pleaded guilty to receiving at least $600,000 for fraudulently selling documents to illegal immigrants seeking to establish U.S. citizenship or residency. The documents include naturalization papers and green cards establishing legal residence in the country.
Schofield was only a small part of a sophisticated operation that included so-called immigration brokers who recruited the illegal aliens, charged them about $30,000 apiece for immigration documents and later gave Schofield a cut. The brokers involved in this particular ring received more than $3 million, leaving federal authorities to say that “the breadth and scope of the fraud and corruption are truly stunning.”
There is not telling exactly how many U.S. government documents Schofield really sold. He once supervised 50 employees in the Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Fairfax Virginia and, when he was arrested, he supervised a staff of nine at the agency’s Washington District Office. Authorities said he used bribe money to buy his $387,000 home in Fairfax.
Schofield is among dozens of U.S. immigration employees to be charged with this kind of corruption in the past year. Other offenders include Border Patrol agents who accepted bribes at the U.S.-Mexico border to allow illegal aliens into the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents extorting money from immigrant detainees and Florida state employees selling drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens.
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