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09KYIV1687, FRAUD SUMMARY-KYIV, UKRAINE

October 1, 2009

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV1687 2009-10-01 05:05 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO8703
RR RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHKV #1687/01 2740505
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010505Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8496
RUEHPNH/NVC PORTSMOUTH 0033
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHFT/AMCONSUL FRANKFURT 0534

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 KYIV 001687 
 
SIPDIS 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT FOR CA/FPP (BILLINGSR), CA/VO/F/P, DS/CR/VG, EUR/UMB, G/TIP 
DEPT ALSO PASS TO KCC 
POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION MANAGERS 
DHS FOR CIS/FDNS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: CVIS KFRD CPAS CMGT ASEC UP
SUBJECT:  FRAUD SUMMARY-KYIV, UKRAINE 
 
REF: (A) STATE 57623; (B) KYIV 572; (C) KYIV 466; (D) KYIV 1271; (E) 
KYIV 846 
 
1. (SBU) The following is post's semi-annual fraud summary for the 
period March 1, 2009, through August 30, 2009. 
 
2. (SBU) Country Conditions: As reported in the previous fraud 
summary cable (ref B), Ukraine is experiencing a severe recession, 
with a 14 percent expected decline in annual GDP for 2009, 
increasing unemployment, and a weakened and unstable currency.  In 
addition, the political situation remains unstable in the lead up to 
presidential elections, scheduled for January 2010.  These factors 
are reinforcing already high levels of fraud in Ukraine. Post 
earlier reported on the impact of the economic crisis on visa 
applications in Ukraine (ref C). 
 
3. (SBU) NIV Fraud:  During this period, post completed a B1/B2 
validation study for visas issued between June 01, 2007 and May 31, 
2008.  During this time, post issued 21,331 B1/B2 visas. The 
validation study found a 4 percent overall overstay rate, virtually 
all of which were unauthorized overstays.  These results reveal an 
increase in the number of applicants who did not return to Ukraine, 
compared to a 2.7 overall overstay rate and 1.8 percent illegal 
overstay rate based on a validation study of visas issued between 
December 1 2006 and May 312007. However, the increase was within the 
3.8 percent margin of error. 
 
From March 2009 through August 2009, NIV officers referred 566 cases 
to the Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU) for investigation.   Fraud was 
confirmed in 107 cases, and 69 cases are still pending investigation 
results or officer review. Fraud was not confirmed in 390 cases. 
Many of these cases were refused 214b because derogatory information 
was uncovered during the course of the FPU investigation.  The 
average time for completing investigations on NIV cases remained 
under two weeks. 
 
NIV adjudicating officers generally do not consider documents 
submitted by applicants due to widespread document fraud. As a 
result, officers did not consistently use the Suspicious Documents 
function, and checked the box only 49 times during the reporting 
period.  Consular will make it a priority for NIV officers to use 
the function in appropriate cases, particularly cases referred to 
FPU. 
 
B1/B2 Fraud: 
 
Post continues to encounter fraud in the form of fake employment, 
relationships, and invitations; as well as groups used as a cover to 
mask unqualified applicants. 
 
During the reporting period, post experienced fraud connected to 
local athletic organizations. For example, FPU interviewed a group 
of kickboxing fighters purportedly going to compete in a martial 
arts tournament in Orlando, Florida.  The group was organized by the 
president of the Ukrainian Kickboxing Federation, who held a valid 
B1/B2 visa. 
 
In the course of the investigation, FPU established that a number of 
applicants were not bona fide athletes and were included in the 
group by the president of the federation in order to get U.S. visas. 
 Further open source research on the president revealed his alleged 
ties to organized crime and prior arrests on murder and extortion 
charges, which he failed to indicate on his DS-156.  When 
re-interviewed by the Consular Officer, the president admitted the 
arrests, but claimed he was innocent and was never convicted. 
 
Post has identified a rapidly growing number of mala fide applicants 
claiming employment with local travel agencies.  FPU research 
revealed connections between many local travel agents and a network 
of visa fixers.  Over the past few months, FPU has investigated 
numerous cases connected with travel agencies involving 
misrepresentation of employment, social ties, and purpose of travel. 
 Applicants often presented passports with unused UK or Canadian 
visas and some Schengen travel history. Many were coached by the 
travel agency before the interview to pose as either employees of 
the travel agency or as friends of employees of the agency who had 
been previously issued U.S. visas.  The agency then arranged or 
encouraged fake letters of employment and statements showing 
non-existent bank account balances. In some cases, they also vouched 
for the applicant's employment when contacted by the Consular 
Section. 
 
One recent case involved a female applicant who originally presented 
herself as a legal advisor traveling to New York City for a weeklong 
 
KYIV 00001687  002 OF 004 
 
 
tour with a friend who works for the American Travel Group (ATG). 
The ATG employee already had a U.S. visa. ATG is an international 
business with offices located in Kyiv and Brooklyn, New York.  The 
agency is owned and run by an American citizen couple of Ukrainian 
origin. 
 
During the investigation FPU discovered that the subject had never 
worke
d as a legal adviser and was, in fact, unemployed.  As the 
interview progressed, the applicant admitted that she was travelling 
to the U.S. alone and was coached by ATG to pose as a companion of 
one of the ATG managers.  When FPU contacted ATG directly, the 
employee in question stated that the applicant was her friend and 
they were planning to travel together.  During a subsequent FPU 
interview, the ATG manager confessed that she was not friends with 
subject and was not planning to travel with her.  The manager's visa 
was revoked.  Subsequent text searches connect to ATG with several 
other travelers who were later found to have misrepresented their 
employment. 
 
J1: 
 
During the summer work and travel season, post experienced fraud in 
the form of fake job offers and fake student credentials, as well 
several cases in which seemingly bona fide applicants were supplied 
with fraudulent or non-existent job offers by their agencies. (Ref 
D)  Post maintained a rigorous anti-fraud posture during the summer 
work and travel season, increasing scrutiny of local agencies as a 
source of bogus documentation and job offers. 
 
H1B: 
 
During the reporting period, post encountered a number of H1B 
applicants who misrepresented their qualifications. In one recent 
case, the applicant posed as the deputy chief of logistics for 
Ukrainian company, with plans to work as the director of a childcare 
center in Brooklyn.  An FPU call to the applicant's employer 
revealed that he was merely a dispatcher and had exaggerated his 
title and responsibilities.  During the interview, the applicant 
admitted that he had no prior experience with any of the 
responsibilities outlined in the position description for his future 
job, and that he was hoping to learn these skills on the job. The 
applicant also admitted that the petitioner was his mother, who 
traveled to United States on a tourist visa several years ago and 
was now an American citizen. Post sent the petition back to USCIS 
with a recommendation for revocation. 
 
4.  (SBU) IV Fraud: From March 2009 through August 2009, IV officers 
referred 48 cases to FPU.  Fraud was confirmed in six cases and not 
confirmed in six other cases. Thirty-six cases were still pending 
FPU investigation, officer review, additional documents, or 
information from the GOU or other agencies.. 
 
Post continues to see fraudulent CR1 and CR2 cases, which are often 
connected to prior fraudulent DV cases. 
 
In one recent CR-1 case, the Consular Officer suspected that the 
applicant entered into marriage with an American citizen solely for 
immigration benefits, and referred the case to FPU for 
investigation. FPU established that the applicant, who claimed to be 
employed as a cook since 2004, had been previously refused U.S. 
visas three times. In 2005, she claimed to be a doctor and wanted to 
visit her son, who won a Diversity Visa and immigrated to the U.S. 
the applicant did not list a son in her DS-230 or I-130 petition. 
Further FPU investigation revealed that the applicant's ex-spouse 
received a DV-2 in 2005 as a pop-up spouse, and that her petitioner 
was in fact still married to his real spouse in the United States. 
 
Interestingly, a CCD text search conducted against this applicant's 
purported son (as indicated in her 2005 NIV application) revealed 
that from 2004 through 2007, nine different individuals applied for 
U.S. visas claiming a close family relationship to the same "son" or 
his spouse. Out of the nine applicants, eight were female, and three 
of them claimed to be the "son's" mother. All of the applicants were 
from Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi regions (high fraud areas). Five 
of these applicants were issued B1/B2 non-immigrant visas, all five 
traveled to the United States, and none complied with the terms of 
their visas. FPU believes that the agency which handled the DV entry 
for the "son" in 2005 retained his information (i.e. U.S. address, 
phone number, etc.) and then sold it as part of fraudulent NIV 
packages to other applicants. 
 
Post forwarded the case to USCIS for possible revocation and the IV 
applicant was found ineligible under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(I). FPU shared 
its findings with Diplomatic Security and DHS in conjunction with 
 
KYIV 00001687  003 OF 004 
 
 
their ongoing investigation of Diversity Visa fraud in Ukraine. 
 
5.  (SBU) DV Fraud:  The Diversity Visa program continues to be 
exploited by individuals, "travel" agencies, and organized criminal 
elements in Ukraine.  Due to logistical constraints in Kyiv, 
Ukrainian DV applicants have been processed at American Embassy 
Warsaw for several years.  FPU Warsaw reviews suspect cases and may 
forward them to FPU Kyiv for further investigation.  When suspect 
applicants are detected remotely, post alerts Warsaw, and in cases 
where the applicant appears connected to an ongoing DS investigation 
or is of special interest, ARSO-I may request that the subject be 
sent to Kyiv for an additional interview. 
 
Post continues to see a significant percentage of Ukrainian DV 
winners marrying (or divorcing and then remarrying a different 
spouse) immediately upon notification of their winning entry.  This 
pattern is consistent with the established fraud scheme whereby a 
third party pays an agency to be added onto a winning applicant's 
package. In cases referred to post for investigation, comprehensive 
relationship interviews have been very successful in identifying 
this fraud and obtaining confessions. 
 
Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) has an ongoing investigation 
involving more than 3,000 suspected fraudulently-obtained Diversity 
Visas to Ukrainian applicants over the last eight years, and FPU 
Kyiv continues to assist this investigation. To date, post has 
conducted dozens of DV fraud interviews and identified numerous 
fraud rings located both in Ukraine and the U.S.  DSS agents in the 
U.S., working with DHS, ICE, Federal Task Forces, and local police, 
have identified several key figures in these rings and obtained an 
understanding of how the criminal networks function.  These 
interviews continue to demonstrate that Ukrainian DV fraud is a 
highly organized and lucrative criminal enterprise. Last year, 
Warsaw FPU, Kyiv FPU and ARSO-I Kyiv identified a new trend 
involving Belarusian DV winners marrying Ukrainian and Russian 
nationals.  In many cases, these individuals were utilizing U.S. 
points of contact and addresses previously associated with Ukrainian 
DV agencies. 
 
6.  (SBU) ACS and U.S. Passport Fraud: Post experienced no change in 
trends with respect to ACS and U.S. passport fraud.  ACS staff 
regularly communicate with NIV and FPU officers, and share 
information when they encounter cases with ties to potential NIV and 
IV fraud, as well as cases in which American citizens report being 
defrauded by Ukrainian citizens (often marriage scams). 
 
ACS staff recently discovered and investigated a potential passport 
fraud case in which a Ukrainian citizen appeared at the consular 
section to file a CRBA and passport application for her child, along 
with the purported American citizen father of
the child. ACS staff 
noticed that the parents were not married, and the significantly 
older father was in fact married to another woman in the United 
States. The mother of the child had two prior NIV refusals.  In 
2005, she attempted to visit her mother in Chicago, who was married 
to a person with the same name as the purported father of her child, 
raising suspicion that the purported father is actually the husband 
of her mother. In addition, an FPU interview with the subjects 
revealed numerous inconsistencies in their story.  ACS requested the 
alleged father to provide a DNA test, and the case is pending the 
outcome of this test. 
 
7.  (SBU) Adoption fraud: No change. 
 
8.  (SBU) Use of DNA testing:  There was no change in trends 
concerning the use of DNA testing at post. The IV Unit requested DNA 
tests in approximately three cases during this reporting period.  In 
each case, the testing confirmed the relationship in question. 
 
The ACS Unit requested approximately five DNA tests during this 
reporting period. In each case, the testing confirmed the 
relationship in question, or post is still awaiting test results. 
 
9.  (SBU) Asylum and other DHS benefit fraud: No change in trends. 
 
10.  (SBU) Alien smuggling, trafficking, organized crime, and 
terrorist travel: No change in trends. 
 
11.  (SBU) DS criminal fraud investigations:  The ARSO-I, FPU, and 
the consular section as a whole maintain a strong working 
relationship.  The ARSO-I provides information from law enforcement 
databases and other sources which are invaluable in detecting fraud. 
The DSS investigation into Ukrainian DV fraud is progressing 
rapidly.  A network for information exchange has been established 
between ARSO-I Kyiv and DSS agents in headquarters, field offices, 
 
KYIV 00001687  004 OF 004 
 
 
and task forces.  Kyiv continues to provide DSS analysts with 
suspect applicants, U.S. addresses, and U.S. points of contact as 
they are discovered at post.  In return, DSS agents have shared 
Reports of Investigations confirming suspected fraud, identifying 
visa fraud facilitators, and outlining larger fraud schemes. 
 
12.  (SBU) Host country passport, identity documents, and civil 
registry: No change. 
 
13.  (SBU) Cooperation with host government authorities: No change 
in trends. 
 
14.  (SBU) Areas of particular concern: FPU Kyiv enjoys excellent 
cooperation in fraud matters from many other embassies in Ukraine. 
In April, FPU organized a regional fraud prevention seminar 
featuring presentations from the Office of Fraud Prevention Programs 
(FPP), the Visa Office (VO), consular officers and staff from 
American embassies in the region, and consular officers and staff 
from a variety of foreign missions in Kyiv. The seminar was designed 
to update participants on fraud trends in the region and the tools 
to combat them, as well as promote cooperation and information 
sharing between missions. (Ref E) 
 
During this reporting period, FPU Kyiv conducted public meetings and 
published advertisements in newspapers throughout the country to 
support fraud prevention and educate the public about consular 
issues and legal employment in the United States.  Consular officers 
and FPU staff conducted fraud prevention outreach trips in four 
cities in Ukraine, which included press conferences and public 
meetings to discuss visa fraud and legal employment in the United 
States. A similar public outreach campaign is planned for September 
and October of this year. 
 
15. (SBU) Staffing and training: Post has a part-time FPM who spends 
half of his time conducting NIV interviews.  CA/EX approved an FS-03 
FPM position and has paneled an officer for this position, to begin 
in November 2010.  Post currently has three FSN investigators, two 
FSN clerks, and one temporary FSN clerk, with one temporary FSN 
clerk position vacant. 
 
Pettit

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