NEW YORK - Michael J. Garcia, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Julie L. Myers, Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announced the guilty pleas today of Vyacheslav Manokhin, a United Nations employee working at the headquarters in Manhattan, and Vladimir Derevianko, a New Jersey resident, in connection with a scheme to fraudulently procure large numbers of United States entry visas for non-U.S. citizens.
An ICE lead investigation revealed that the scheme involved fraudulent documents, some of which were prepared on United Nations letterhead, that requested U.S. entry visas so that aliens could attend conferences in the United States, which either did not exist or they did not attend. The pleas were entered before United States Magistrate Judge Michael H. Dolinger in Manhattan Federal Court. According to the complaint and indictment filed in the case, and statements made during the guilty plea proceeding:
Manokhin and Derevianko's visa fraud scheme involved the use of numerous fraudulent documents, some of which were prepared on United Nations letterhead. The documents requested U.S. entry visas, so that aliens could attend United Nations conferences in the United States. However, the aliens neither attended the U.N. conferences nor intended to do so.
ICE agents with the New York Office of Investigations Special Agent in Charge discovered during the course of their investigation that Derevianko prepared the fraudulent documents and Manokhin used his position at the U.N. to make it appear as though the U.N. supported the visa applications.
One document - submitted in support of an entry visa for an individual named Kamiljan Tursunov - was prepared on U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) letterhead; purported to be signed by a non-existent UNDP official named Leonardo Brackett; and included as a contact Manokhin's telephone number at U.N. Headquarters.
When asked by a caller about the Tursunov visa application, Manokhin stated that he was an assistant to Leonardo Brackett, and confirmed falsely, that Tursunov had been invited to come to the United States for a U.N. conference. Based in part on these assurances, Tursunov obtained an entry visa and entered the United States. When Tursunov was later arrested in the U.S., he admitted to federal agents that he paid $15,000 to a person in Uzbekistan for his U.S. entry visa; that his visa application suggested that he was coming to the United States to attend a conference; and that he did not attend the conference and had no intention of doing so. Rather, Tursunov admitted, he entered the United States, moved to Florida, and had been living there for over two years.
Tursunov pleaded guilty in connection with this matter on Jan. 25, 2008, before United States District Judge Harold Baer. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
Manokhin and Derevianko each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to obtain entry visas by means of false statements. Sentencing has been scheduled before United States District Judge Harold Baer, for June 26, 2008, at 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Garcia praised the investigative work of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General. Mr. Garcia also praised the United States Mission to the United Nations; the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs; and the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight, for their assistance on this matter.
Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Farbiarz and Iris Lan are in charge of the prosecution.