In 1993, DSS Special Agents investigated an Egyptian national operating in New Jersey who used a highly sophisticated reproduction process to manufacture hundreds of counterfeit U.S. visas. Working with Immigration agents and Egyptian police, a joint undercover operation was conducted that exposed the international visa fraud ring. The investigation resulted in the arrest of the primary suspect and the seizure of the counterfeit visa manufacturing equipment.
In a recent case in Texas, DSS agents joined with other Federal and State enforcement officers to halt a multi-million dollar international money laundering and phony investment operation. An individual, who was believed to be arranging the murder of a criminal associate, purchased a passport in an assumed identity from a DSS undercover agent that resulted in his immediate arrest.
In 1993, DSS initiated a program to help combat the rising tide of Russian Organized Crime (ROC) in the United States. In coordination with local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies, DSS launched major investigations into the fraudulent procurement of U.S. visas by ROC groups. Not only are Federal prosecutions pending, numerous crime family members have been prevented from obtaining visas to enter the United States.
DSS Special Agents assisted the Montgomery County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Office by coordinating the successful capture and return of two fugitives from a remote African country. A husband and wife team, indicted for the theft of $3 million, assumed false identities to fraudulently obtain U.S. passports to flee before trial. DSS agents obtained arrest warrants on passport fraud charges, then worked with foreign police in six countries, through DSS officers in our embassies, to locate, capture, and return the fugitives to face justice in the United States.
In May 1994, DSS agents, working with Florida Department of Law Enforcement, arrested an individual who had assumed a false identity, fraudulently obtained a passport, and purchased numerous firearms. Searches of his house and storage facilities on DSS warrants revealed firearms, burglary and bank robbery tools, and child pornography. The individual also may have been involved in two murders and the sale of women to an international organized crime ring for prostitution.
In 1993, DSS took steps to enhance responsibilities for reporting and investigating allegations of child exploitation. Working with the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, DSS Special Agents conducted an investigation involving a State Department employee suspected of sexually molesting youths overseas. The allegations were confirmed and the individual was prosecuted in U.S. District Court. The employees plead guilty and was sentenced to 6 years in custody.
Passport and visa fraud offenses often are committed in association with other criminal activities. International terrorists, narcotics smugglers, white-collar criminals, and fugitives all seek to change their identities as part of their criminal activities.
DSS Special Agents stand ready to work with State and local law enforcement agencies. In any of the following circumstances, joint investigations can be productive:
- A suspect on a local felony warrant may have fled the United States in an assumed identity;
- An individual is arrested with documents, ,especially international travel documents (passports), in multiple identities;
- Local investigation has developed significant information on a suspect’s criminal activity that does not quite provide probable cause, and it is believed that the suspect is using a false identity, especially in international travel;
- A suspect in a local felony fraud investigation claims to be a U.S. citizen, but there are substantive doubts about his true citizenship.
Special Agents-in-Charge of DSS field offices and resident agent offices in the cities listed at the end of this publication are available to accept inquiries from other agencies on any matters that may be of mutual interest.
In addition, DSS is responsible for conducting protective security investigations concerning threats to foreign consulates and embassies in the United States. DSS has officers throughout the United States and at almost every U.S. embassy abroad.
Finally, DSS is responsible for the Counter-terrorism Rewards Program. Up to $4 million can be paid for information leading to the successful resolution or prosecution of an international terrorist attack on U.S. citizens or property. For more information about this program, call (202) 429-2207.