5 charged in immigration scam

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities said Wednesday they have broken up an immigration fraud ring that led to the arrests of four federal law enforcement officers accused of accepting bribes to help foreigners enter the country.

An 18-count indictment laid out a detailed account of alleged corruption where tens of thousands of dollars, a flat-screen TV and airline tickets to Thailand were some of the bribes used to have the officers forge documents and other illegal activity that involved three federal agencies.

Among those charged with conspiracy to commit bribery are James Dominguez, 46, a special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Jesus Figueroa, 66, a supervisory officer with Citizenship and Immigration Services and Michael Anders, 53, a Customs and Border Protection officer.

Federal prosecutors said lawyer Kwang Man Lee, who was previously charged in a related case, paid bribes to the officers to secure admission stamps and lawful permanent residence status for people who paid fees ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $50,000.

The bribes ranged from as little as $50 to as much as $10,000, prosecutors said.

"The allegations in this case concern federal law enforcement officers selling their services and betraying their oaths to our nation so they could profit from a clandestine immigration fraud ring that allowed scores of aliens to improperly enter and reside in the United States," said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr.

A fifth person seeking legal status in the U.S. also was indicted.

Authorities said they have identified several dozen people who improperly received immigrations benefits, but that number is growing as the investigation continues.