So-Called Employment Services Firm Busted for Immigration Fraud

EBI Inc., an immigration services company also known as Overseas Employment Information Service Inc., pleaded guilty April 25 to immigration fraud in connection with a scheme to submit false labor certifications in order to obtain visas for aliens, announced U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. According to the plea agreement, the company, doing business as EBI, maintained an office in Silver Spring, Md., throughout the 1990s and by late 2001 maintained another office in Los Angeles.

From September 1999 through September 2004, the company advertised itself as an employment services company that paired U.S. companies facing labor shortages, such as poultry processing and textile manufacturing companies, with immigrant workers seeking an opportunity to gain legal permanent residency in the United States. Within the Korean and Chinese communities in the United States and overseas, the company was known for its ability to help individuals seeking to gain legal permanent residency in the United States quickly and efficiently.

Beginning in 1999, the company conspired to file labor certification applications that contained false information to assist aliens in getting "green cards" through an employment-based visa program. The company filed applications with the Department of Labor and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that bore the names, identifying information, and the purported signatures of former clients who had already obtained either their lawful permanent resident status or citizenship, and therefore had no need for a new labor certification application. These former clients were not aware that their names and identifying information were being used on new applications submitted by the company, did not intend to work at the company listed on the application, and did not give permission to the company or anyone associated with it to file those applications.

"We will not allow criminal organizations to exploit and compromise America's immigration system for profit," said James Dinkins, ICE Special Agent in Charge, Baltimore Office of Investigations. "In this case EBI used their expertise in immigration law not for the greater good, but to undermine the system and enrich themselves. These actions display a callous disregard for individuals who are attempting to lawfully enter the United States. ICE will continue to target these violators and pursue their prosecution.

EBI faces a maximum sentence of a fine consisting of the greater of $500,000 or twice the amount of the gross gain to the defendant and five years probation. As part of the plea agreement: EBI has agreed to forfeit a total of $300,000 seized from its Los Angeles Office and held by a co-conspirator; and the government and EBI have agreed that a $500,000 fine and five years probation is an appropriate sentence in this case. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for July 11.

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