fraud

Taxpayer Cash Indirectly Funds Lawyers for Illegals

Although Congress explicitly has prohibited the use of federal legal aid funds for the poor from being used to represent illegal immigrants, a loophole allows the money to be used indirectly for that purpose.

Critics contend that the loophole is made possible by a combination of regulations that undermine of intent of the law, approving courts and political appointees who seem to care little about preventing illegal immigrants from benefiting from funds intended to help low-income citizens and legal residents.

The Legal Services Corporation, created by Congress in 1974 to help poor people get access to attorneys, distributes $400 million a year to 137 legal aid firms across the country. Those firms represent low-income folks involved in a range of civil cases, from landlord disputes to employment matters. They also provide legal advice and help poor people apply for government benefits.

“You have two buckets, but one bucket frees up the other bucket … It become a joke, really."

Under federal law, those firms cannot represent illegal immigrants, except in limited circumstances. But rules written by federal bureaucrats and approved by court rulings allow those firms to set up “mirror corporations” that are free to represent illegal immigrants. Technically, federal funds from the Legal Services Corp. cannot be transferred from the grant-receiving firm to its sister organization. But the firms can accept the federal grants and then transfer money from other sources.

“You have two buckets, but one bucket frees up the other bucket,” said Ian Smith, an attorney who recently discovered the loophole when he did legal battle against one of these sister firms. “It become a joke, really.”

James J. Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corp., denied that the organization allows taxpayer money — even indirectly — to make its way to lawyers representing illegal immigrants.

“To ensure strict compliance with these rules, LSC vigorously monitors its grantees and conducts numerous on-site visits to their offices each year,” Sandman wrote in an email in response to questions from LifeZette.

Lax Enforcement Alleged
But Smith, investigative associate for the Immigration Law Reform Institute, said information he has gathered from Freedom of Information Act requests suggests that the federal organization has been less than vigorous in ensuring that federal funds are not used to pay for attorneys for prohibited immigrants.

The federal inspector general with jurisdiction over the Legal Services Corp. told the Immigration Law Reform Institute in response to its FOIA request that it could find no records that a taxpayer-funded legal aid firm had ever turned away a client for failing to prove citizenship or eligibility status. In the last six years, the Legal Services Corp. has conducted just one investigation into a federally funded law firm improperly funding legal representation for illegal immigrants. In that case, an employee of the firm tipped off federal authorities to improprieties, Smith said.

Unlike other federal programs that bar illegal immigrants, Smith said, legal aid organizations are not required to use federal databases to verify the citizenship status of potential clients. Clients merely need to check a box indicating they are a citizen or eligible resident. There is no background check. It is essentially an honor system, he said.

In the legal battle the Immigration Reform Law Institute was involved in, the Washington-based legal group represented a citizens’ organization that led the drive to block a law that would have issued driver cards to illegal immigrants in Oregon. The legislature passed the law in 2013, but Oregonians for Immigration Reform successfully petitioned to put the issue before voters, who rejected the proposal in a landslide in 2014.

A group of illegal immigrants sued last year in an attempt to overturn the referendum. A judge tossed the suit, which now is on appeal. The legal group representing the plaintiffs was the Oregon Law Center, a mirror firm of the taxpayer-supported Legal Aid Services of Oregon. Under the law, Legal Aid Services of Oregon cannot represent illegal immigrants — but Oregon Law Center can.

Documents indicate that ostensibly separate legal aid organizations in Oregon are “nearly one and the same.”

The law ostensibly requires the firms to be legally separate entities. But Smith said his research indicates that they are “nearly one and the same,” with the same board of directors, adjoining offices, and shared litigation support functions. They often share cases and coordinate fundraising efforts, training, and administration.

Documents filed to the Legal Services Corp. show that Legal Aid Services of Oregon uses non-taxpayer funds to pay a pro bono manager who provides technical assistance, support, and coordination of legal services with Oregon Law Center. A joint staff planning committee includes managers of both firms. They also share a mission statement of “achieving justice for the low-income communities of Oregon by providing a full range of the highest quality civil legal services.”

Representatives from Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the Oregon Law Center could not be reached for comment last week.

Lawyers ‘Know a Loophole When They See One’
Under regulations governing grants from the Legal Services Corp., elements used to determine if law firms and mirror organizations are genuinely separate include whether they have separate facilities, personnel, and accounting records; and whether funds are transferred. But the presence or absence of any of the those factors is not determinative — the corporation decides on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s hard to enforce because the enforcement agent … is the Legal Services Corporation, itself,” said Ken Boehm, a former general counsel of the corporation.

Boehm was a congressional staffer who helped draft legislation that passed Congress in 1996 strengthening the ban on giving funds to organizations that represent illegal immigrants. Prior to that, the prohibition was murky. Ambiguities were removed in exchange for allowing federally funded legal aid organizations to represent illegal immigrants in cases of domestic violence, abuse, or trafficking. Boehm said the restrictions now are "crystal clear," but he said legal aid firms have devised ways around them. In one case, he said, a mirror organization was paying rent for office space from the grant-receiving firm — but was months behind on that rent.

"Lawyers out there who know a loophole when they see one have been getting away with all sorts of things," he said.

Now chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, which promotes ethics in government, Boehm said enforcement ultimately falls to the 11-member board that runs of the Legal Services Corp. Each is an appointee of President Obama — and Boehm said they have not been aggressive about pursuing violations that involve illegal immigrants.

The Legal Services Corp. also generally flies under the radar of Congress, Boehm said.

"Oversight hearings are sort of scarce," he said. "In the Senate, it's been a couple of years."

Jim Ludwick, who serves on the board of directors of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said it is frustrating to be opposed in court by lawyers who appear to be indirectly subsidized by taxpayer funds meant to help poor Americans and legal residents.

"We just see where the law is violated — and they get away with it," he said. "They get away with it because they can get away with it."
 

Military bases to refuse some New Mexico IDs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Military installations in New Mexico, including Kirtland Air Force Base, will stop accepting some driver’s licenses for base access as early as Sept. 15 as implementation of the federal Real ID Act approaches, military officials said Tuesday.

While New Mexico-issued licenses and IDs are valid under Real ID criteria in some aspects until October 2020, at this point they won’t be accepted for Kirtland access after Oct. 10 of this year absent another extension – which is considered likely.

Meanwhile, state officials said Tuesday they hope to begin issuing new Real ID compliant licenses later this year. Under the new system, undocumented immigrants would be eligible only for driving authorization cards that are not valid for purposes of federal identification.

“We’re still on track and moving forward” on the implementation of the new two-tier system, said Benjamin Cloutier, a spokesman for the Department of Taxation and Revenue.

Beginning Sept. 15, identification cards or driver’s licenses issued by Minnesota, Missouri, Washington or American Samoa – which are not currently compliant with Real ID – cannot be used to access Kirtland, according to a base news release.

“New Mexico has received an extension for their state-issued ID cards through Oct. 10 of this year,” said Maj. Brent Pickrell, commander of Kirtland’s 377th Security Forces Squadron.

“New Mexico plans to file for another extension, and while we believe this request will likely be approved, we must plan for the contingency where it does not,” said Pickrell, who commands the unit at Kirtland that controls installation access.

Base officials expect resolutions for New Mexico and 28 other states and territories to be reached prior to Oct. 10, but they are preparing for the possibility that these IDs will become invalid, he said.

Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range are implementing similar restrictions. Kirtland officials said the new rules are being implemented Air Force-wide. Officials at Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis did not immediately respond to a request about its access policies.

NM on track

New Mexico is awaiting approval from the federal Department of Homeland Security for its Real ID implementation plan and expects to begin issuing Real ID compliant licenses later this year.

Taxation and Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla has told legislators the state got the go-ahead to order the fingerprint machines needed for background checks. The agency also has been working with a vendor that is designing the new licenses. Training for Motor Vehicle Division employees in the new system was to occur throughout August.

The new license system was approved by the Legislature and the governor this year, ending a contentious five-year debate over whether the state should continue issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Under the state’s plan, undocumented immigrants – along with any citizens who want them – will be able to get driving authorization cards that are not good for official, federal identification purposes. Citizens and others with a lawful presence will be able to get Real ID compliant licenses, as long as they provide the required documents, including certified copies of birth certificates and documents with Social Security numbers.

Fingerprinting will be required only of undocumented immigrants who are new applicants – that is, those without current New Mexico licenses.

Still, beginning Oct. 10, people with licenses or IDs from states or territories currently under an extension will need approved alternate forms of ID for unescorted base access, unless further extensions are approved.

Those states and territories are New Mexico, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, the Northern Mariana Islands, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Valid forms of identification for Kirtland

Kirtland officials said valid alternate forms of ID include:

■ U.S. passport.

■ U.S passport card.

■ Permanent resident card/alien registration receipt card (Form I-551).

■ A foreign passport with a temporary (I-551) stamp or temporary (I-551) printed notation on a machine readable immigrant visa.

■ An employment authorization document that contains a photograph (Form I- 766).

■ Identification card issued by federal, state or local government agencies, provided it contains a photograph and biographical information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address.

■ U.S. Coast Guard merchant mariner cards/credentials.

■ PIV or federally-issued PIV-1 Cards (personal identification verification) issued by the federal government.

■ PIV-I card (personal identification verification-interoperable issued by non-federal government entities).

■ DHS “Trusted Traveler Cards” (Global entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST).

■ Merchant mariner card issued by DHS/ United States Coast Guard (USCG).

■ Border crossing card (Form DSP-150).

■ U.S. certificate of naturalization or certificate of citizenship (Form N-550) and U.S. permanent resident card (Form I-551).

Kirtland officials also said that current holders of distinguished visitor’s passes would be granted access with the passes until they expire, and new passes would be issued according to the REAL ID requirements.

For a full list of REAL ID Act and compliant and non-complaint states, visit dhs.gov/current-status-states-territories [https://www.dhs.gov/current-status-states-territories].

David Cross - foreign national crime tracker attends DC conference

You may have heard David Cross on the Lars Larson Show each Thursday afternoon, reporting about the foreign national criminal of the week.  You may have read David's detailed Guest Opinion pieces in newspapers across the state.  You may have received or seen posted on our OFIR website, his reports on foreign national criminals held in the Oregon prison system.

David Cross is well known for his accurate, detailed research about foreign national crime and it hasn't gone unnoticed.  The Center for Immigration Studies invited David to attend an immigration briefing at the National Press Club in Washington DC. this past weekend.

Read more about Breitbart's interviews at the event.

 

 


 

Supreme Court denies bid to block Texas voter ID law

Texas' controversial voter identification law will remain in effect, possibly through November's elections, after the Supreme Court on Friday denied an emergency request from a coalition of Latino advocacy groups and Democratic lawmakers who say the measure is discriminatory.

...While it is a temporary decision, it could affect enforcement of similar laws in other states during a hotly contested presidential election year...

One of the strictest such laws in the country, it requires voters to provide certain government-issued photo ID in order to cast a ballot...

Opponents say a disproportionate number are poor Hispanic and black voters.

But state officials claim there have been no problems such as large numbers of eligible voters being turned away.

A federal appeals court ruled the 2011 law had a "discriminatory effect" in violation of the landmark Voting Rights Act. But the Supreme Court two years later struck down the VRA's key enforcement provision, muting much of the federal government's ability to monitor and block state laws that may deny voters fair, unfettered access to the polls.

Against that backdrop is the Texas voter ID law, affecting more than 14 million voters this election cycle. The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is poised to take another look at the issue in coming months, but both sides are at odds over its continuing enforcement. The ID requirements were used during the Texas primary last month, as well as the 2014 elections.

The high court case is Veasey v. Abbott (15A999).

IRS Encourages Illegal Immigrants to Commit Identity Theft and Refuses to Inform Victims

By Marc Ferris , for Federation of for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

Another tax season has arrived and with it comes the annual soaking of the American taxpayer. Every year, the Internal Revenue Service doles out billions of dollars in tax credits and other funds to illegal immigrants and their families, some of whom do not even live in the United States, despite the wonderful work a few years ago by the Eyewitness News team at WTHR in Indianapolis. Led by chief investigative reporter Bob Segall, the story gained widespread attention on Capitol Hill, but the situation remains unchanged.

Then, late last year, Segall identified another incredible scenario: even though the IRS is able to easily identify undocumented workers who are using fake Social Security numbers and can identify them, the agency chooses to look the other way – even when a valid Social Security number belonging to an American citizen is used to file a tax return and wreaks havoc on his or her life.

The secret IRS policy is so damaging to American citizens whose Social Security numbers are surreptitiously used by illegal aliens – 1.2 million fraud victims last year alone – that two whistleblowers came forward to WTHR to reveal the problem.  “I love my country,” said one. “That’s why I’m here. It’s a crime. I don’t care what you call it, it’s a crime,” said one, who chose to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

Everyone who earns money must file a tax return, even if in the country illegally. The IRS actually issues illegals an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to facilitate tax filing, but one needs a Social Security number to get a job. Thus, tax returns from illegals often have two numbers associated with them, the ITIN and the Social Security Number on the W-2 earnings statement. If they don’t match, that’s a pretty clear indication of identity theft.

But not only does the agency refuse to do anything about it, their policies encourage the practice. The IRS even knows where the perpetrators live and work, since they are filing forms with the information, but refuses to crack down.

WTHR found two victims of identity fraud, singled out by the IRS for under-reporting their income, since the agency received two W-2 forms with the same Social Security number. Legal taxpayers, who have no idea that their Social Security numbers are being used illegally, only report one income. One victim, Albert Allen, lost his family’s health insurance due to the snafu: “I had to go months hoping that my kids didn’t get hurt because they didn’t have the insurance,” he said.

The rub is that the IRS knew all along that Allen was the victim of the identity fraud. Yet the agency chooses to keep victims like him in the dark and protect the criminals. And, they made him file papers to prove that he had no knowledge of the situation, a matter that is still unresolved, since his Social Security number continues to be used by an illegal immigrant – and why not if there’s no penalty?

The IRS calls illegal immigrants who use another’s Social Security number a “borrower,” rather than a thief. The policy manual directive to workers is clear: “Do not disclose to the taxpayer that the Form W-2 containing their Social Security number was reported on an ITIN return.” Allen expressed shock, saying that this “would cause more people to do it.”

When asked if it would be acceptable for an American citizen taxpayer to borrow someone else’s Social Security number, one whistleblower replied: “Hell no. It’s stealing. You’re taking something without that person’s consent.” His colleague said that “every day you see this over and over and over and over again.”

Identity theft by illegal immigrants is rampant and the Obama administration is complicit. Despite constantly complaining about budget restrictions, the IRS holds up applications for tax-exempt status for organizations whose political views the administration opposes, and goes after the under-reported income of individual taxpayers – even for as little as a few dollars in back taxes.

It is unconscionable that the agency encourages illegal immigrants to continue working without authorization, refuses to punish identity thieves and allows citizen taxpayers to be victimized.

http://immigrationreform.com/2016/03/09/irs-encourages-illegal-immigrants-to-commit-identity-theft-and-refuses-to-inform-victims/
 

California offers driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants

This year California has begun to offer undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses, and tens of thousands of immigrants have been standing long hours in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles offices around the state to avail themselves of the new document.

Polls show that most state residents support the new policy, which is in line with other state policies which allow undocumented immigrants in the state, for example, to practice law or dentistry, among other licensed professions.

California now allows children from low-income undocumented families to receive subsidized health care, and lawmakers are considering allowing undocumented immigrants to buy health insurance through the state’s public exchange. A bill now before the legislature would give agricultural workers permits and protect them from deportation, although deportation of undocumented immigrants has been dealt with at the federal level. A suburb of Los Angeles will this week appoint undocumented immigrants to two unpaid advisory board positions.

DMV officials say that of the 883,000 licenses issued so far this year, 443,000 were issued to undocumented immigrants. The officials estimate that by the end of 2017, the DMV will issue more than 1.5 million driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in the state.

The New York Times notes that about three million undocumented immigrants – about a quarter of undocumented immigrants in the United States – live and work in California. More than half of the state population consists of immigrants or children of immigrants.

There are critics who say the new policy interferes with federal immigration policies. Joe Guzzardi, a spokesman for Californians for Population Stabilization, a group which calls for restricting immigration, told the Times that the new policy “creates even more of a magnet in what is already basically a sanctuary state…. These are very tangible rewards to people who have knowingly and willingly violated the law.”

Other states have also moved to offer driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, but polls show that there is less public support for such policies in those states. In Connecticut, state authorities expected 54,000 applications for driver’s licenses from undocumented immigrants within three years of the policy being initiated, but found out that 50,000 rushed to apply in the first six months, leading to complaints from residents about long lines and delays. Maryland has, since January 2014, issued about 60,000 licenses to undocumented immigrants, while Colorado has given out about 10,000.

 

Fraud crackdown sends illegal immigrant licenses plummeting in NM

A crackdown on document fraud has sent the number of driver's licenses issued to illegal aliens in New Mexico plunging by 70 percent, while revealing that the state likely issued tens of thousands of bogus licenses after becoming the first state to adopt the controversial policy a dozen years ago.

Last year, New Mexico issued 4,577 licenses to foreign nationals, down sharply from the 2010 high of about 15,000. ...the huge drop came as soon as new procedures were implemented to identify fraudulent documents that had been submitted to obtain licenses.

“While this is encouraging news, Gov. Martinez still sides with an overwhelming majority of New Mexicans who believe we must repeal the dangerous law of giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, which has turned our state into a magnet for criminal activity,” said Mike Lonergan, spokesman for the governor.

New Mexico became the first of 10 states to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens in 2003, under then-Gov. Bill Richardson, who claimed it would cut down on uninsured drivers in the state. But while the policy's effect on public safety has been inconclusive, critics say it launched a cottage industry for criminals to sell fraudulent documents.

Last year, federal officials broke up a five-year operation -- which extended from New Mexico to New York -- that saw illegal immigrants from Georgia paying as much as $2,000 to obtain documents to secure a New Mexico driver’s license.

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A high-profile case in 2012 saw five Albuquerque residents federally indicted in a multi-state license distribution scheme...

"New Mexico's driver's license policy has once again attracted criminal elements to our state in pursuit of a government-issued identification card," Martinez said at the time. "Our current system jeopardizes the safety and security of all New Mexicans and it is abundantly clear that the only way to solve this problem is to repeal the law that gives driver's licenses to illegal immigrants."

... Republican State Rep. Bill Rehm, a retired county sheriff's officer, said more than 100,000 driver’s licenses have been issued to illegal immigrants, but only about 17,000 have filed a state income tax.

“These people enter the country illegally, then obtain a driver’s license through fraud and lies,” Rehm said. “We sparked a whole criminal industry by allowing this.”

Rehm is among a large number of opponents who have been unable to get the law repealed, despite Martinez's support. The critics say the policy has penalized legal residents of the state, because of a 2005  federal law aimed at preventing terrorists from getting fraudulent IDs. Because the federal REAL ID Act sets forth standards stricter than New Mexico's for federal recognition of identification documents, the Department of Homeland Security will not recognize licenses from states including New Mexico as ID for getting on a plane or entering federal buildings, for example...

Vivian Juarez, director of the Mexican Consulate in Albuquerque, declined to comment on the drop in licenses issued to Mexican nationals in New Mexico.

Joseph J. Kolb is a freelance journalist based in New Mexico.


 

Canadian who pilfered IDs of Urban Outfitters employees gets prison

A former Urban Outfitters manager is going to federal prison for stealing at least 28 IRS employee identity forms from her former employer, which she sold to other people...

Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones on Tuesday sentenced Carolyn Gallagher, a Canadian, to 1 year, 1 day in federal prison, meaning she's likely to be out in about 10 months if she stays out of trouble...

Gallagher conspired with four other people – Jheraun Dunlap, Ernest Bagsby, Jermaine Moore and Brandi McCall – to prepare and file false tax returns. Dunlap got the longest prison term: 65 months.

The four perpetrated what Jones described as "a vast fraudulent conspiracy" in which they stole identities and filed 208 phony tax returns in an attempt to make more than $1 million.

They made off with $427,896 of that money from the U.S. Treasury Department, turning it into vintage and luxury autos, expensive shoes, diamond rings, and a whole lot of cocktails and meals.

Brandi McCall was sentenced to 1 year, 1 day in federal prison for her limited role in the IRS plot...

Mexico to launch new protocol to help unaccompanied migrant children

The pilot project launched last Sunday in the consulates in Portland, Oregon, Brownsville and McAllen seeks to help authorities determine if unaccompanied migrant children need to reunite with their families or if it is necessary to request asylum in the United States.

Mexico's government will start applying a new protocol in May to help Mexican migrant children.

The pilot project launched last Sunday in the consulates in Portland, Oregon, Brownsville and McAllen seeks to help authorities determine if unaccompanied migrant children need to reunite with their families or if it is necessary to request asylum in the United States.

"This is unprecedented, because before children were asked about their health, if they suffered human rights violations or if they had complaints about their deportation proceedings, but the new protocol is focused on understanding their family situation and circumstances to migrate," said Reyna Torres, director of Protection of Mexicans Abroad.

The protocol, created with the help of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), includes images so that children can identify their migration route or the type of officer that arrested them.

The information obtained will be included in a database that will be shared with the National Immigration Institute (INM) and the System for the Integral Development of Families (DIF).

Kansas City-area hotel owner gets 27 months in prison for hiring workers illegally in U.S.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A suburban Kansas City hotel owner was sentenced Monday to 27 months in prison in a case that highlights the U.S. Justice Department’s shift to targeting employers who knowingly hire immigrants not authorized to work in the United States.

Munir Ahmad Chaudary, 53, and his wife pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to encourage immigrants to reside unlawfully in the United States. His 42-year-old wife, Rhonda R. Bridge, was sentenced last month to 21 months imprisonment....

... U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said in a news release. “You can go to prison for knowingly employing undocumented workers. Violating federal law is not a good business strategy.”

Prosecutors say that the couple replaced lawfully employed workers with immigrants not authorized to work in the United States ...

“The Chaudarys sought to game the system and gain an unfair business advantage over their legitimate competitors...

The U.S. attorney’s office said their investigation began in 2011 when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Kansas Department of Revenue received information the hotels were unlawfully employing foreign workers. An undercover agent was hired in June 2012 even though he told his employers he was not authorized to work in the United States.
 

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