Visa Fraud Scheme Alleged in Detroit

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There would be no months spent waiting for paperwork, no haggling with immigration officials, no lines at the embassy, no phony documents. Just an open door to the land of plenty. So the Detroit Free Press described an alleged conspiracy by a federal employee and two others to allow immigrants illegal entry into the United States. At least 130 Arab immigrants jumped at the offer. Janice Halstead, 59, of Detroit was indicted on charges of immigrant-smuggling, conspiracy and bribery. If convicted, she could be sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Federal grand jury indictments unsealed yesterday laid out an elaborate plan that stretched from Dearborn to Yemen to Lebanon, and involved at least two other people. Agents arrested Halstead at her Detroit office, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services at Mt. Elliott and East Jefferson. She has been an immigration officer for nearly six years.


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