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Document and Benefit Fraud

Honolulu notary pleads guilty to federal charges related to visa fraud

HONOLULU - A licensed Honolulu notary faces up to 20 years in prison today after pleading guilty to 10 counts of false notary certification stemming from a joint probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) into allegations he notarized information on applications for immigrant visas knowing the information was false.

Henry Hung Nguyen, 39, admitted in court yesterday that on 10 occasions he falsely certified information contained in visa applications submitted to USCIS. Nguyen listed individuals as "joint sponsors" without their permission and falsely notarized their signatures. Nguyen's sentencing is scheduled for January 26, 2009, before U.S. District Court Judge David A. Ezra. Nguyen faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.

"Quite simply, America's immigration system is not for sale," said Wayne Wills, special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in Hawaii. "ICE is working closely with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and its other partners to ensure that those who seek to enrich themselves by compromising the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system pay a price for their crimes."

"Maintaining the integrity of the immigration system is our top priority," said USCIS District Director David Gulick. "To this end, USCIS is employing new tools that help quickly identify the scope of activities of those trying to perpetrate fraud so that we can more easily target schemes and those involved."

Nguyen's prosecution is being handled by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Hawaii. U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo praised the efforts of ICE and USCIS noting that "immigration fraud poses a threat to national security and public safety because it creates a vulnerability that may enable terrorists, criminals and others to illegally enter and remain in the United States. ICE has established Document and Fraud Task Forces across the country to target this type of activity and address vulnerabilities in the immigration process. The Nguyen case is an outstanding example of the success of these efforts."