J’can gets 10 months for US visa fraud

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — A naturalised United States citizen, originally from Jamaica, has been sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for visa fraud.

The man, 41-year-old Marvin Mushia Smith pleaded guilty on August 14, 2018.

The US Department of Justice said 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 abnormal numbers of alleged “required” foreign temporary non-agricultural workers, called “H-2B” visas.

The task force linked all of these requests to Smith, a naturalised US citizen, originally from Jamaica. Further investigation revealed that from at least as early as December 16, 2014, through March 15, 2018, Smith filed fraudulent labour certification packages and fraudulent immigration petitions with the Department of Labour (DOL) and/or US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which resulted in the admission of more than 300 non-immigrants (H-2Bs), all from Jamaica. 

The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker programme allows US employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.  To qualify for H-2B non-immigrant classification, an application/petitioner (Smith, in this case) must establish that, amongst other things, there are not enough US 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 US workers.

In his fraudulent submissions to DOL and USCIS, Smith claimed to have labour contracts with various hotels, construction companies, and/or landscaping businesses for temporary work in the United States.

In reality, many of his H-2B petition packages used fake temporary employment contracts as supporting evidence to exhibit the need for the foreign workers in the United States.

The Department of Justice said the USCIS approved all 11 of Smith’s H-2B petitions, in large part, because of the fraudulent contracts supplied by Smith.

Each of the approved petitions allowed Smith to bring in a different amount of alien workers. On average, each petition allowed him to bring in about 30 workers. Furthermore, law enforcement interviewed several of the H-2B workers admitted under Smith’s fraudulent H-2B packages and they said they had worked at different job sites and performed different duties than those indicated on the petitions. 

“Foreign worker visa fraud can have serious national security, public safety, and economic consequences,” said HSI Orlando Assistant Special Agent in Charge David J Pezzutti. 

 “This case represents the importance of the HSI Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force’s continuing commitment toward protecting the integrity of the immigration system and preserving jobs for US citizens and others lawfully authorised to work.”  

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