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Immigration Officer Charged With Visa Fraud Conspiracy

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The U.S. Attorney's Office in Jacksonville, Florida has indicted a long-time officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Officer Paul Friel stands accused of orchestrating a fake marriage between his actual girlfriend from Nicaragua and a U.S. national.  According to the indictment, Officer Friel arranged for a U.S. citizen to go to Nicaragua and marry his own girlfriend so that he could then sponsor her for a green card.  No explanation is provided as to why the officer did not marry the woman himself.

The government now alleges that Officer Friel paid for all travel related to the fraudulent marriage.  He arranged for the filing of false immigration applications and coached the U.S. citizen and the Nicaraguan girlfriend on how to answer questions at an embassy interview.  The officer married his girlfriend some time after her arrival, but lied about it to federal investigators.

Officer Friel faces up to 25 years in federal prison; his girlfriend faces 5.



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