Iranian Imprisoned for Immigration Scam


By: Jim Kouri, CPP

A San Fernando Valley man known for his appearances on Farsi-language media outlets was sentenced on Friday to 30 months in federal prison for orchestrating an immigration fraud scheme that filed fraudulent employment visa applications on behalf of scores of foreign nationals seeking to come to the United States.

Henry Hossein Haghighi Heguman, 61, an “immigration consultant” who regularly appeared on Farsi-language TV and radio programs, was sentenced in Los Angeles federal court by United States District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew. Haghighi’s sentencing follows his guilty pleas last fall to conspiracy, two counts of immigration fraud and two counts of money laundering.

Haghighi is one of four defendants who were arrested in November 2004 in relation to the scheme that Haghighi admitted helped as many as 99 aliens obtain visas through fraud. Haghighi also admitted that his operation charged from $6,000 to $24,000, depending of the circumstances of the alien seeking a visa.

Employment-based visas are normally issued when a business in the United States needs a person to fill a specific job and is unable to find a qualified employee in the U.S. labor pool. The business can file a petition to allow a particular alien, who is supposed to be qualified to fill the job, to enter the United States to work for the petitioning business.

Relying on more than 200 Southern California businesses – ranging from medical clinics to auto parts stores, some real and some not – to serve as petitioners, Haghighi and his associates filed paperwork that fraudulently claimed a business needed to hire a particular worker who needed a visa to enter the United States. In most cases, the aliens who immigrated to the United States as part of this scheme never went to work for the petitioning businesses.

The investigation began when adjudication officers with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reviewed employment visa petitions with questionable employer need and employee qualifications. The matter was referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which opened a criminal investigation.

Previously in this case, three of Haghighi’s codefendants pleaded guilty.

Farideh Mir, 59, of Sherman Oaks, an employee of a law firm that assisted Haghighi, pleaded guilty to four counts of immigration fraud. Mir is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lew on May 8.

Grace Houra Shahraz Edison, 51, a Canoga Park businesswoman, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud. Edison is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lew on April 23.

The fourth defendant, attorney Bita Logham Hoffman, 41, of Carlsbad, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and one count of immigration fraud. Hoffman is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lew on April 11.

“One of the lessons from 9/11 is that false identities and fake documents present serious risks to national security by leaving the door open for criminals and terrorists to illegally enter and remain in the United States,” said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Los Angeles. “ICE is determined to target not only the criminal organizations behind these schemes, but anyone else who profits from them.”

Debra D. King, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division in Los Angeles, stated: “Immigration fraud poses a serious threat to the security of our country. IRS Special Agents, who are trained to follow the money, bring their financial expertise to bear in these types of investigations, working towards the successful prosecution of those who launder the proceeds of their illegal activity”



Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at http://jimkouri.us

About The Author Jim Kouri, CPP:
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.
Website:http://jimkouri.us

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