FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
THURSDAY, JANUARY 8, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INDICTS EMPLOYEE OF ADOPTION AGENCY
ON VISA FRAUD CHARGES
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Christopher A. Wray, Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney John McKay for the Western District of Washington, announced the voluntary surrender and initial appearance of Lauryn Galindo, 52, in Seattle, to an indictment charging one-count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and four counts of visa fraud.
The indictment alleges that between January 1997 and January 1999, with other co-conspirators, Galindo, conspired to obtain visas for Cambodian children who were being adopted by parents in the United States falsely representing either the identity of the children or the fact that the children were abandoned or true orphans. Co-conspirators included Seattle International Adoptions (SIA) and the defendantís sister, Lynn Devin.
Devin entered a plea of guilty to related charges on December 3, 2003.
The defendant made her initial appearance today before Magistrate Judge Benton. Galindo faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment for the conspiracy count and up to10 years imprisonment for each visa fraud count. She also faces a fine of up to $250,000 per count.
The judge has set an arraignment date for January 22nd at 9:00 a.m.
The charges are part of an ongoing investigation into adoption fraud. The government plans to take no action which would jeopardize the residency status of children in the United States who are considered to be victims of the fraud.
The investigation is being conducted by the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) whose lead agent is Richard Cross, and by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through agent Deborah Neyhert. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James Lord and Department of Justice, Domestic Security Section Trial Attorney Michael Barr.
Members of the public are reminded that the complaint contains only allegations.