May 20, 2010
TWO ARRESTED IN VISA FRAUD SCHEME
(HOUSTON) – Two men have been arrested on charges of encouraging illegal immigration, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. The indictment, returned yesterday by a federal grand jury in Houston, was unsealed this afternoon at the initial appearance of Samuel Andrew Boling, 34, of Cypress, Texas, and Carrol Wayne Hall, 75, of Houston, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson.
Boling and Hall are charged in an eight-count indictment with conspiring to encourage illegal immigration, encouraging illegal immigration for the purpose of private financial gain and making false statements to federal agents. They were arrested this morning, without incident, by agents with United States Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service.
The indictment alleges that from late 2004 and continuing through January 2008, Boling and Hall operated a Houston-based company known as HB Services, which marketed itself as specializing in the procurement of H-2B visas, a category of non-immigrant visas that allow U.S. employers to hire alien workers for temporary non-agricultural work. Employers seeking to hire workers under the H-2B Visa Program must first certify to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that there are no qualified U.S. workers to perform the job and that hiring alien workers will not adversely affect local wages. If DOL certifies the employer’s application, the employer submits additional paperwork to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) with the names of foreign workers who intend to apply for H-2B visas. The workers then apply for their H-2B visa overseas at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The number of H-2B visas is capped annually at 66,000.
According to the indictment, HB Services solicited various American employers concerning the need for foreign workers. The employers were falsely told that, under the H-2B Visa Program, it was necessary to request significantly more foreign workers than actually needed by the employer. HB Services hired attorneys to prepare paperwork submitted to DOL and CIS which reflected the inflated and bogus request for workers. Once approved, Boling and Hall arranged with individuals in Mexico to recruit and assist aliens with the H-2B visa application process, including arranging interviews for the aliens with the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey. Boling and Hall then traveled to Mexico to collect fees paid by the Mexican aliens for the H-2B visas. Boling and Hall also arranged for transportation of the aliens by bus from Mexico to the Social Security Administration Office in Houston where, after applying for cards, the aliens were dismissed without further arrangement for their employment.
The indictment also provides notice that, in the event of conviction, the United States will seek a money judgment against Boling and Hall of up to $2,525,000.
Following their initial appearance today, both men were ordered released pending trial on unsecured bonds of $100,000.
The maximum penalty, upon conviction, for conspiring to encourage illegal immigration and encouraging illegal immigration for the purpose of private financial gain is 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for making a false statement to federal agents is five years imprisonment at a $250,000 fine.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by agents with the United States Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service. Assistant United States Attorney David Searle is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
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