Thai National Admits to Running Immigration Fraud Scheme
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Nimon Naphaeng, 35, a native and citizen of Thailand, who resided in Wakefield, R.I., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence yesterday to federal charges resulting from his running an immigration fraud scheme, which included the filing of false asylum applications on behalf of individuals who did not request nor authorize the applications.
Naphaeng pleaded guilty to seven (7) counts of mail fraud and two (2) counts of visa fraud, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations for New England.
Appearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, Naphaeng admitted to the court that from August 2014 through December 2015, for a fee of between approximately $1,500 and $2,500 per applicant, he would file false asylum applications thereby securing the right of the applicant to remain in the United States, obtain an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD card”) and as a result, further government benefits including a social security number, driver’s license, and if otherwise qualified, financial benefits. An EAD card is issued with the name and date of birth of the holder printed on the card.
To execute his scheme, Naphaeng admitted that he advertised on the Internet and in flyers posted in Thai restaurants around the United States, that he could, in addition to helping with tax returns, obtain EAD cards for Thai nationals. Naphaeng admitted he never mentioned to his clients that he would file asylum applications on their behalf in order to obtain the EAD card. Naphaeng had the applicants supply him with vital personal information including their name and date of birth, photographs, and a copy of the biographical page from their passport. He would then file a false asylum application without the knowledge of the applicant in order to obtain the promised documents.
According to court documents, Naphaeng will forfeit $285,789.31 seized from him by law enforcement as part of the investigation. The funds will be applied to any order of restitution to the victims issued by the Court.
Naphaeng, who has been detained in federal custody since his arrest on December 22, 2015, is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith on May 1, 2017. Mail fraud is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 20 years in federal prison; a fine of up to $250,000; and term of supervised release of up to 3 years. Visa fraud is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 10 years in federal prison; a fine of up to $250,000; and term of supervised release of up to 3 years.
The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Attorney’s office, with substantial assistance from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services - Fraud Detection National Security Asylum Office, Newark, N.J., and the Warwick, R.I., Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard W. Rose and Mary E. Rogers.
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
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