Orlando Man Arrested For Filing Fraudulent Immigration Petitions Resulting In Over 300 Temporary Workers Entering The United States
Orlando, Florida – Marvin Mushia Smith (39, Orlando) has been arrest and charged by criminal complaint with visa fraud and encouraging or inducing an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison on each count.
According to court documents, in April 2017, members of Orlando’s Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF) identified numerous requests for foreign, temporary, non-agricultural workers’ “H-2B” visas linked to Smith, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Jamaica. Further investigation revealed that from at least December 2014 through March 15, 2018, Smith filed fraudulent labor certification packages and 11 fraudulent immigration petitions with the Department of Labor (DOL) and/or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which resulted in the admission of over 300 non-immigrants from Jamaica.
The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary, non-agricultural jobs. To qualify for H-2B nonimmigrant classification, a petitioner must establish that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work, and that employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. A statutory “cap” limits the number of H-2B visas granted during a fiscal year. Currently, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 - March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 - September 30).
In his fraudulent submissions to DOL and USCIS, Smith claimed to have labor contracts with various hotels, construction companies, and landscaping businesses for temporary work in the United States. In reality, many of his H-2B petition packages used fake temporary employment contracts to support the need for his foreign workers. USCIS approved the petitions, in large part, because of the fraudulent contracts supplied by Smith. Further, law enforcement officers interviewed several of the workers who had been admitted as part of Smith’s fraudulent packages, who stated that they worked at different job sites and performed duties other than the ones indicated on the petitions.
A criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has violated one or more federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was the culmination of the combined investigative efforts of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Department of State – Diplomatic Security Service, the DOL–Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and USCIS - Fraud Detection and National Security. These agencies comprise HSI’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, which was created to combat visa fraud and other similar crimes. This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandon M. Bayliss and Christina R. Downes, who are on assignment from the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, ICE.