Five Sentenced For Bribing Immigration Official
Aliens Sought to Erase Criminal Histories and Evade Reporting Requirements
ATLANTA, GA - ROTANA KHOV, 34, of Atlanta, Georgia; PISA PHOSAI, 34, of McDonough, Georgia; HING BUN, 43, of Riverdale, Georgia; VOEUN LIM, 27, of Charlotte, North Carolina; and SAVOEUN KROCH, 31, of College Park, Georgia, were sentenced today by United States Chief District Judge Julie E. Carnes on charges of conspiracy to bribe a public official.
“Most immigrants carefully follow the law and take all the necessary legal steps to lawfully remain in the United States. By contrast, these defendants chose the route of quick and dirty payoffs so that they could stay here without any accountability. That is not the way the system works in the United States,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
“ICE takes all bribery attempts of our employees very seriously,” said David D'Amato, Special Agent in Charge of the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility overseeing Orlando. “All allegations of bribery are investigated thoroughly and swift enforcement action is taken when appropriate.”
KHOV was sentenced to 4 years in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
PHOSAI was sentenced to 1 year, 1 day in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
BUN was sentenced to 6 months of home confinement to be followed by 4 years, 6 months of probation. BUN was taken into ICE custody immediately after the sentencing and is expected to remain in custody until his deportation to Cambodia.
LIM was sentenced to 8 months in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
KROCH was sentenced to 1 year, 3 months in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.
KHOV, PHOSAI, BUN and LIM pleaded guilty to the charge on August 3, 2011, and KROCH pleaded guilty to the charge on October 6, 2011.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) had determined that the defendants were aliens who were subject to deportation due to previous criminal convictions and was holding them in custody while they awaited deportation. Before the defendants could be deported, the Southeast Asian countries where they were citizens first needed to issue travel permits for each of the defendants. When 90 days passed from the time that an ICE official had issued the orders of removal and the Southeast Asian countries had not yet issued the travel permits, the law required that the defendants be released from ICE custody but that they be required to periodically report in person to an ICE employee.
In August 2010, PISA PHOSAI approached an ICE Enforcement and Removal Assistant and offered to pay her $1,500 to cancel his reporting requirement. The Assistant immediately reported PHOSAI’s offer to ICE Special Agents and other investigators, and the Assistant then began to work in an undercover role. Acting at the direction of the special agents, the Assistant agreed to alter PHOSAI’s reporting requirement in exchange for money. PHOSAI was not able to raise the money, but he introduced her to ROTANA KHOV, who he said was willing to pay to have his reporting requirement eliminated. KHOV paid the Assistant $1,500 in early September 2010.
KHOV subsequently introduced other aliens in similar situations to the Assistant, including defendants BUN and LIM. In late September 2010, HING BUN paid $4,000 to have his reporting requirements cancelled. In October 2010, VOEUN LIM paid $3,000 to the Assistant. ICE instructed defendant KROCH to report for deportation in September 2010, but KROCH, acting at KHOV’s direction, did not report as instructed. KROCH paid $7,000 to the Assistant in January 2011. In all, six aliens paid a total of $18,500 to the ICE Enforcement and Removal Assistant to have their reporting requirements removed. KHOV kept approximately $4,000 of the money as a fee for referring the other individuals to the Assistant. Recorded conversations between the Assistant and the defendants indicated that the defendants believed that, by eliminating their reporting requirements, the Assistant was also removing their criminal histories from their ICE records. The defendants believed that eliminating the reporting requirement would allow them to stay in this country legally and eventually to apply for U.S. citizenship.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Assistant United States Attorney Paul Jones prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.