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Cablegate: Quarterly Fraud Summary - Nairobi

VZCZCXYZ0018
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #4050/01 2841159
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111159Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2870
INFO RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 4989
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9582
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 4934
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 1923

UNCLAS NAIROBI 004050

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/CA
DEPT FOR CA/FPP, CA/EX
PASS TO KCC
PASS TO INL/HSTC
POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION MANAGERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRD CVIS CPAS CMGT ASEC KCRM KE
SUBJECT: QUARTERLY FRAUD SUMMARY - NAIROBI

REF: A. Nairobi 2771, B. Nairobi 2307, C. Nairobi 1389, D. 06

Nairobi 3733, E. 06 NAIROBI 2782, F. 06 NAIROBI 2509, G. 06 NAIROBI
1650, H. 06 NAIROBI 817, I. 06 NAIROBI 740, J. 05 STATE 205073, K.
05 NAIROBI 4523, L. 05 NAIROBI 3627

1. (U) Summary. The following report replies to Ref J reinstitution
of the quarterly fraud report covering the current condition of
consular fraud in Kenya, with specific reference to fraud trends in
non-immigrant visa, immigrant visa, and diversity visa applications
as well as cases of American Citizen Services, adoption, and
passport fraud. Other areas covered include cooperation with the
host government, and areas of particular concern. The review
concludes with an overview of FPU staffing and training. End
Summary.

------------------
COUNTRY CONDITIONS
------------------

2. (SBU) Consular operations in Nairobi are regional in nature,
covering much of East Africa, to include immigrant visa operations
for Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia, Eritrea, Seychelles,
southern Sudan, Reunion, and Mauritius. Several of these countries
have historically been politically unstable and involved significant
migration by refugee groups. Due to the political history of and
fluid borders in East Africa, as well as Kenya's role as a
relatively stable country in the region, Nairobi's consular work
maintains a fraud prevention posture that takes into consideration
the high potential that applicants tend to have very fluid
identities, including names, dates of birth, and other biometric
information. These same factors (porous borders and malleable
identities) have proven attractive to terrorist groups wishing to
strike Western targets inside of Kenya.

3. (U) Over the past quarter, Post has encountered several attempts
by cyber cafes to generate fake visa appointment letters. These are
obvious "cut and paste" letters, and the applicants are often
disappointed to hear that the appointment booking fee they paid to
the cyber cafe is for a non-existent interview. Fees charged for
fake appointment letters range form $100 to $175 according to
scammed applicants.

4. (SBU) For the quarter, CCD reports indicate that Nairobi had 137
total fraud cases. The number of cases referred to FPU has dropped
significantly as Post carried out an internal investigation of
Nairobi's former Fraud Prevention Unit Investigation Assistant. The
investigation determined conclusively that our former employee was
involved in consular malfeasance; he was terminated, and immediately
arrested by the Kenyan authorities. Nairobi is in the process of
hiring a new staff member for the position.

---------
NIV FRAUD
---------

5. (SBU) Students' financial support continues to be a focus area
for FPU Nairobi. CCD text searches of sponsor names allow Nairobi
to routinely catch F1 student applicants using recycled bank
statements. Adjudicators have noticed that our tougher stance on
student visa applicants over the past year has resulted in a growth
in the quality and quantity of students who have scholarships or can
demonstrate credible financial support.

--------
IV FRAUD
--------

6. (SBU) Relationship fraud continues to be a problem in Nairobi,
particularly in the IR-1 and K-3 marriage-based categories. Post is
actively using accurint.com search tools to reveal information about
petitioners which often undermines already poorly crafted
relationship stories told by applicants.

7. (SBU) Thanks to a random inspection and interception of outbound
mail by CBP officials, Post has an entire coaching packet for an
IR-2 step-child petition which seriously calls into question the
veracity of the relationship in question. Post will also review the
bona fides of the applicant's brother who recently received a visa
and traveled to the U.S.

--------
DV FRAUD
--------
8. (SBU) On July 25, Post's FPM received two emails from unknown
sources threatening the lives of Kenyan journalists as well as
Embassy staff. The emails complain about our fraud-prevention
posture on ghost marriages outlined in the July 2006 Fraud Digest.
For DV 2006 and 2007, Post has made great efforts to investigate
add-on spouse marriages and found the vast majority of them to be
fraudulent, leading to visa denials. As a result, Post has shut
down what had become a human trafficking money maker for several
fraud rings operating in Kenya. The emails, which were immediately
shared with RSO, show the incredible frustration felt by the fraud
rings at their loss of revenue and the termination of their human
trafficking schemes.

9. (SBU) Since Post is taking a tough posture against add-on
spouses in DV cases, applicants who notified NVC of their add-on
spouses are now coming to the DV interview claiming the recently
added-on spouse died suddenly. In support of these claims, the
applicants are providing death certificates. In the first of these
cases, a fraud investigation determined that the death certificate
was fraudulent. Post believes this will be the modus operandi for
these cases in light of Post's heightened scrutiny of DV add-on
spouse cases.

10. (SBU) In July, two DV applicants stepped forward as
whistle-blowers and described in detail how Post's former fraud
prevention investigations assistant approached them and demanded
money in order to facilitate their visa processing. He met with
them on several occasions, usually after hours and on weekends, and
his conversations with them were recorded by Kenya Anti-Corruption
Police Unit investigators. RSO and Consular officers also
carried-out an internal investigation which confirmed the
allegations of malfeasance and resulted in the termination our
employee. The sole FSN position in FPU has been vacant since his
termination in late-July.

11. (U) In August, Nairobi interviewed two Kenyan DV winners who
claimed to be the same person. Both supplied valid Kenyan passports
with the name and date of birth of the winning principal applicant.
Both applicants had also added spouses to their cases. While not
surprised, Post continues to be troubled that applicants can so
easily fraudulently obtain valid Kenyan travel documents.

----------------------
ACS and PASSPORT FRAUD
----------------------

12. (SBU) A downtown bank called FPU about a suspicious individual
holding a U.S. passport who was attempting to cash traveler's
checks. The bank also called Kenyan police who arrested the
individual. Careful inspection of the passport and review of PIERS
indicates that the passport was stolen in Nairobi in January 2007
and that the biometric page had been overlaid with a new photo and
information behind a new laminate. The fraudster also laminated the
signature page, which along with his odd behavior tipped-off the
bank employees.

13. (SBU) FPU worked with local authorities at the airport to
determine that an elderly Somali-American gentleman was facilitating
an attempt to traffic three other Somalis on his daughter and
grand-daughter's passports. Kenyan immigration authorities decided
to prosecute the facilitator who was apparently recognized as having
previously attempted to do the same thing. Personal interviews of
the three teenage look-alike fraudsters revealed they had been
poorly coached. When the FPM asked one her date of birth, she
stated that she did not know, but she said we should ask her
grandfather who would certainly know.

--------
ADOPTION
--------

14. (U) Nairobi has had one IR-2 case which involves a Uganda-based
adoption which appears to be fraudulent. This case follows the
pattern of similar Kenyan cases where Kenyan-American adopting
parents attempt to adopt distant family members who have lost their
parents and guardians in Kenya. Nairobi FPU believes that due to
the length of the adoption legal process, petitioners resort to
forged court documents to expedite the process.

---------------
ASSISTING USCIS
---------------

15. (U) Post's fraud unit continues to act as a resource for
domestic USCIS investigators verifying documents for Kenyans
attempting to change status in the U.S. USCIS officers tell us that
among Kenyans, their most fraud-proned cases involve members of the
Kisii tribe who also commit the majority of DV fraud seen in
Nairobi.

---------------
HOST GOVERNMENT
---------------

16. (SBU) Nairobi receives decent cooperation from the host
government; however, the Kenyan government has not honored its
requirements under the Geneva Convention regarding consular
notification. In the previous quarter, Nairobi learned about the
death of an Amcit from an anonymous caller who informed us that
Kenyan police had dumped the body in a local morgue without
refrigeration. Hours later, Post identified the body with
difficulty, as it had been nearly a week since the death occurred.
Post has yet to receive official notification of the death, nor have
we received substantive responses to our Diplomatic Notes protesting
this breach of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

----------------
AREAS OF CONCERN
----------------

17. (U) Post believes that Kenyan borders and ports will continue
to be porous transit points for third-country nationals attempting
to travel on fraudulent documents. Nairobi also believes that,
following ongoing fighting in Somalia, potentially malevolent
applicants may attempt to apply for visas in Nairobi. Potential
threats to U.S. security are likely to have significant resources
and may attempt to procure genuine Kenyan documents in order to get
a US visa. As such, following the recent OIG's recommendation, Post
believes it is critical that we purchase a powerful anti-fraud tool:
the Foster and Freeman VSC4Plus with Document Imaging Software
Suite, at an installed cost of roughly $33,000. We continue to
believe that the VSC4Plus would greatly enhance Post's anti-fraud
posture and would enable us to expand on our anti-fraud cooperation
with host-government authorities.

---------------------
STAFFING AND TRAINING
---------------------

18. (U) Nairobi has begun to accept NIV, IV, and DV cases from
Eritrea following the closure of visa operations in Asmara.
Eritrean cases have increased our IV workload by approximately 25
percent. While we appreciate the Asmara's consular officer's offer
to provide TDY-assistance in Nairobi, temporary assistance is
insufficient. Additionally, the passport-related backlogs in the
U.S. mean that only one Vice Consul will be doing the work of four
from September 2007 onwards. The final month of the 2007 DV season
showed that slightly more than 30 percent of our DV cases in
September 2007 were Eritrean.

19. (U) The FPU unit's sole FSN has been terminated for malfeasance,
and in his absence two NIV FSNs with significant collateral duties
are attempting to fill-in for him. Due to short staffing among the
officers, Post's fraud prevention efforts at the officer level
continue to be diminished; however, Post is happy to note that the
new ARSO/I is assimilating quickly. The current Fraud Prevention
Manager with collateral duties, Etienne LeBailly, who received FPM
training in December 2005, departs Post in late-August. When fully
staffed sometime late in 2007, Richard Nicholson will take over FPM
duties.

RANNEBERGER

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