Today, a federal judge unsealed a three-count indictment returned by a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida charging Jetta McPhee, 59, of Tamarac, Fla., for her role in bringing 143 Haitian nationals to the United States on fraudulently obtained guest worker visas that McPhee and her co-conspirator secured based on false representations that there were jobs awaiting those workers.
The indictment alleges that from April 2008 to July 2009, McPhee conspired with Marie Nicole Dorval to commit visa fraud by making false representations to the federal government about the availability of construction jobs in order to secure H-2B guest worker visas for Haitian nationals. Dorval previously pleaded guilty to visa fraud conspiracy in connection with her role in the scheme. According to the indictment, McPhee prepared a fraudulent contract falsely representing that an American company needed 150 full-time construction workers for 10 months at an hourly wage of $8.42. McPhee and her co-conspirator then submitted this fraudulent contract to the U.S. Department of Labor and to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in connection with their application for the H-2B guest worker visas.
According to the indictment, McPhee and her co-conspirator recruited workers in Haiti, promising them full-time employment and other benefits, including the possibility of obtaining permanent residency, and charged the workers fees for the employment opportunity. The indictment alleges that after several recruits were denied visas, McPhee traveled to the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to facilitate approval of the visas based on the false representations of available construction jobs. According to the indictment, 143 Haitian nationals ultimately entered the U.S. on guest worker visas the co-conspirators obtained based on the false representations. When the workers arrived, there were no jobs for them.
The indictment charges McPhee with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, and two counts of visa fraud for aiding and abetting the presentation of fraudulent documents to the U.S. Department of Labor and to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
If convicted, McPhee could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the conspiracy charge, and 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each of the two visa fraud charges.
This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Chiraag Bains and Roy Conn from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.