For the second time in a year, an employee of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has allegedly been involved in an immigration visa scheme.
According to national news sources, 45-year-old Martin Trejo of Rialto, California, was a contract employee of the USCIS at the Western Forms Center in Montclair, a warehouse where immigration forms are stored for use. Trejo is accused of stealing a number of those forms – many pertaining to visas and drivers’ licenses – and selling them to a group that then used the forms for illegal activity. According to the report, the document handler exchanged a number of coded emails with the group he sold documents to. 21 people have now been arrested in connection with the immigration form fraud.
The FBI believes that the blank immigration forms allowed some of the involved individuals to create false documents and circumvent the immigration system. Trejo has been charged with transporting stolen property across state lines and conspiracy to steal government property. He faces up to five years in prison as well as $250,000 in fines.
This is not the first time that a USCIS employee has allegedly been involved in a conspiracy and fraud case. Last spring, a USCIS records custodian was found guilty of tampering with computer records to help illegal immigrants obtain passports. The California man, 36-year-old Richard Abapo Quidilla, was deleting information from the accounts of naturalized citizens and replacing it with the names of illegal immigrants. He is now serving a five-year jail sentence.