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March 22, 2010

BOSTON, MA - The former New England Area Port Director for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, was convicted today by a jury sitting in the U.S. District Court in Boston, of encouraging and inducing an illegal alien to remain in the United States.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Steven J. Mocsary, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Eastern Regional Office of Professional Responsibility announced today that LORRAINE HENDERSON, 52, of Salem, Massachusetts, was convicted by a jury of encouraging an illegal alien to reside in the United States knowing, or in reckless disregard, of the fact that such residence was in violation of law.

From 2003 until she was suspended in December 2008, HENDERSON was the New England Area Port Director for the Department of Homeland Security. She was responsible for overseeing all of the international ports of entry in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, including Logan International Airport, T.F. Green International Airport in Rhode Island and Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.

During the 6-day trial before the Honorable Douglas Woodlock, the Government’s evidence proved that HENDERSON employed an illegal alien to clean her home while she was the New England Area Port Director. Another Customs and Border Protection Officer warned HENDERSON in 2006 that the foreign national was illegally in the United States and that HENDERSON should not continue to employ her. According to the evidence presented at trial, HENDERSON ignored her colleague’s warning and continued to employ the illegal alien for more than two years.

In May 2008, the illegal alien was confronted and agreed to cooperate with investigators of the Office of Professional Responsibility at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. While cooperating, the illegal alien told HENDERSON that she needed help to become legal. HENDERSON was surreptitiously recorded telling her, "you have to be careful ‘cause they will deport you. Be careful." HENDERSON further advised her, "if you leave they won’t let you back . . . you can’t leave, don’t leave . . . ‘cause once you leave you will never be back."

As the New England Area Port Director, HENDERSON was responsible for the inspection and admission of foreign nationals who sought entry into the United States, and for preventing the entry of illegal aliens into the United States through all of the ports of entry including Logan Airport.

HENDERSON faces up to 5 years imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Judge Woodlock scheduled sentencing for June 17, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility. It was investigated by Agent John H. Coleman with Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Freniere of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.

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