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Press Release

Man Sentenced For Fraudulent Employment Visa Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Hampshire

          CONCORD, N.H. – Jae Won Lee, 38, of Rockville, Maryland, was sentenced to three years’ probation for a visa fraud scheme in which he caused others to make false statements on visa applications filed with the National Visa Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, reports Acting United States Attorney Donald Feith.

          Under the employment-based visa program, U.S. employers who cannot fill jobs with U.S. based workers are able to fill those positions with qualified immigrants. The U.S. employers who sponsor immigrants seeking employment-based visas must have jobs available when the immigrants arrive in the United States.

          Lee worked with an emigration company in Seoul, South Korea, that charged  South Koreans as much as $35,000 to obtain employment-based visas to immigrate to the United States. From in and around March 2008, through in and around December 2014, Lee recruited various U.S. employers, including Wallace Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a The Cleaning Authority, a company in Falls Church, Virginia, to file various documents falsely representing to the United States government that they would hire certain visa applicants if the applicants received employment-based visas, when, in actuality, no positions were available for the applicants. Lee told some employers they were not required to hire the applicants and he paid or offered to pay some employers for filing false documents.

          Lee also falsely informed visa applicants that Wallace or other employers would hire them if they were granted visas. That caused the applicants to unwittingly file Applications for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration with the National Visa Center that contained materially false information identifying Wallace and other companies as the U.S. employers who would hire them if they were issued visas. Lee’s actions resulted in applicants receiving employment-based visas when there was no job waiting for them in the United States.

          U.S. Department of State, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, Geoffrey Cherrington, said, “When an immigrant is issued a fraudulent employment-based visa and does not work for the employer who submits the petition, it deprives another immigrant of the ability to legitimately immigrate, deprives other U.S. employers of opportunities to fill vacant positions, and takes away employment opportunities that could have been afforded to U.S. citizens.”

          “Jae Won Lee’s criminal actions deprived law abiding immigrants and U.S. citizens from filling positions available within the United States,” stated Special Agent in Charge Steven D. Anderson, of the Washington Regional Office, U.S. Department of Labor - Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations.

          The United States Attorney’s Office sought a sentence of 15 months incarceration in the case.

          This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of State, Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, in coordination with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark S. Zuckerman.

Updated February 4, 2016