Cablegate: Dakar Fraud Summary - First Quarter Fy2008

DE RUEHDK #0154/01 0381320
R 071320Z FEB 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. 08 STATE 171211
B. 07 STATE 2417

1. Following is Embassy Dakar's quarterly fraud reporting cable for
the first quarter of FY 2008. Responses are keyed to Ref A.

2. A. COUNTRY CONDITIONS: Senegal is a secular republic with a
strong presidency, weak legislature, a compliant judiciary, and
multiple weak political parties. The country is predominantly rural
with limited natural resources. Between 60 and 70 percent of the
Senegalese workforce relies on agriculture, either directly or
indirectly, to earn a living. In 2007, Senegal recorded an
estimated five percent growth rate, but its economy is highly
vulnerable to variations in rainfall and fluctuations in world
commodity prices. As a result, increasing numbers of young
Senegalese are moving to the cities to seek employment. With a 45
percent unemployment rate (and a very high underemployment rate),
many Senegalese seek work opportunities in the U.S. and Europe. In
2007, over 30,000 Africans - including many Senegalese - attempted
to migrate to Europe via clandestine fishing boats bound for Spain's
Canary Islands.

In 2007, formal sector remittances from Senegalese living and
working overseas were estimated at almost USD 1 billion, and the
flow of money to Senegal through informal channels is estimated to
equal or surpass that amount. A single Senegalese worker in Europe
or the U.S. can provide significant disposable income for an
extended family, or even a small village. Consequently, many young
adults are encouraged to emigrate illegally by heads of household or
community leaders.

There is growing concern that high volumes of illegal narcotics are
transiting through West Africa, perhaps including Senegal. This
dynamic also raises concerns about increasing levels and
sophistication of corruption, money laundering, and other financial
crimes which could exacerbate consular-related fraud in the region.

Dakar is a high fraud post. Senegal serves as a regional airline
hub for West Africa, has daily direct flights to New York,
Washington, and Atlanta, and is used by many West Africans to
transit to the U.S. Airport and airline officials frequently
intercept travelers with legitimate documents, but whose identities
they question.

It is easy in Senegal to obtain fraudulent civil documents, such as
false birth and marriage certificates. Senegalese are also able to
easily obtain genuine documents, including Senegalese passports,
using false identities. Imposters with authentic travel documents
are a recurring problem.

In general, Senegalese place a high value on extended kinship
networks. It is common for families to take in their nieces and
nephews and to treat these children as their own. Affluent family
members are expected to share their wealth, influence, and
opportunities with all those who ask. Many Senegalese, including
wealthy ones, view travel to the U.S. as an opportunity to earn
money to send home and/or obtain free medical care. The obligation
to family and friends trumps all other obligations in the Senegalese
value system. Many Senegalese see nothing wrong with submitting a
fraudulent visa application or with assisting a family member or
friend with a fraudulent application.

B. NONIMMIGRANT (NIV) FRAUD: The most common type of NIV fraud
involves applicants submitting fraudulent documents as part of their
B1/B2 visa applications. These documents include false bank
statements, invitation letters, employment letters, hotel
reservations, and passport stamps. The quality of the fraudulent
documents is generally poor and, therefore, relatively easy to
detect. Consular officers routinely refuse these cases under INA
section 214(b) rather than refer them to the Fraud Prevention Unit

NIV applicants often obtain genuine, but backdated Senegalese
immigration entry and exit stamps in order to cover up previous
overstays in the U.S. or to create fraudulent travel histories. As
a result, adjudicating officers must carefully scrutinize applicants
with previously issued NIVs. We have recently seen fake Chinese and
Indian visas as well; however, they were of very poor quality and
easy to detect. Applicants often present passports with fake entry
and exit stamps from Dubai, Morocco, Senegal, and - increasingly -

Post has encountered several genuine Senegalese passports issued
with false biodata. Interviewing officers refused all these cases
under INA section 214(b), and discovered the identity fraud upon
reviewing the subsequent IDENT check. A significant number of

DAKAR 00000154 002 OF 005

these cases involve applicants who were first refused an NIV using a
Gambian identity. Ref B describes this trend in detail.

Post also sees a number of unqualified applicants added to
legitimate delegations or performance groups. During a January
2007 American passport application, we discovered that an
applicant's Senegalese mother went to the U.S. on a B1 visa as a
personal assistant to a high-level Senegalese government official in
2004 and stayed in the U.S. where she later gave birth. In
addition, a government-sanctioned delegation in 2007 included a
woman who had previously been refused under INA section 214(b) in
Mauritania, using a Mauritanian identity, before she was refused in
Dakar using a Senegalese identity.

Senegal has seen few indications of terrorist and criminal

In FY 2007, post received reports of 14 lost passports containing
valid U.S. visas.

C. IMMIGRANT VISA (IV) FRAUD: Post processes IVs and Fianc Visas
(K1 Visas) for the following countries: The Gambia, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. Post
processes Asylee/Refugee Following- to-Join family members (V92/93)
for residents of Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. Adjudicating officers
refer approximately 40 percent of these applications to the FPU. Of
the cases referred to the FPU, approximately 50 percent involve

Relationship fraud is rampant in IV and K1 applications. In all
seven countries listed above, applicants can easily obtain genuine
civil documents with false information. As a result, DNA testing is
often the only means to confirm a biological relationship. In
addition, the FPU conducts extensive interviews, CCD and LexisNexis
checks, document verifications, and field investigations. The FPU
often relies on other posts to conduct field investigations.

Post recently conducted an evaluation of 91 FY2006 K1s from Sierra
Leone. Of these cases, 53 were referred to FPU. In 29 cases
sufficient fraud was found to justify the return of the petition to
NVC. The most important fraud indicators in these cases include: a
chance meeting during the petitioner's return trip to Sierra Leone,
only one meeting in person since 2000, an age difference of more
than 10 years, and a divorce immediately preceding the petition. Of
cases fitting one or more of these conditions, 58 percent were
referred to the FPU, and 32 percent have been returned or will be
returned to NVC.

Post rarely sees fraud by applicants for employment-based IVs.

Many IV and K1 applicants attempt to hide previous overstays in the
U.S. by obtaining genuine, but backdated entry and exit stamps from
Senegalese immigration officials. It is very easy to obtain genuine
backdated entry and exit stamps, with some Senegalese immigration
officials providing them free of charge as a favor to friends and
family. As a result, adjudicating officers cannot rely on
Senegalese entry and exit stamps as evidence of travel to and from
the U.S.

In the first quarter of FY2008 Post returned 40 petitions to USCIS
for review with the recommendation that they be revoked; in FY2007,
132 petitions were returned. In FY2007, Post refused 29 IV
applicants under INA section 212 (a)(6)(C)(1), including 15 because
of identity fraud. In all 15 cases, the Consular Consolidated
Database (CCD) revealed that the applicants had previously applied
for immigrant and non-immigrant visas under different names and
dates of birth.

D. DV FRAUD: DV applicants frequently present forged high school
degrees or falsified work records to qualify for DV status. Other
DV applicants claim to be newly married after being notified that
they were selected to continue the DV process. Because the issuance
of Baccalaureates (the Senegalese high school equivalent) is
strictly controlled, the majority of forged and counterfeit
documents are easily detected.

Post has been unable to verify the authenticity of Gambian documents
because the Gambian government charges a fee to verify documents.
As a result, it has been difficult to verify educational credentials
submitted by Gambian DV winners. DV applications from Guinea also
pose special problems; all requests for baccalaureate verifications
that have been sent to Guinea have been positively verified. As a
result, Post takes greater care to interview these applicants
thoroughly to confirm that their level of knowledge is consistent
with their claimed education.

DAKAR 00000154 003 OF 005

In FY2007, post issued 80 DV1s and their families, and refused 58
cases. 40 of these were refused under INA Section 212(a)(5)(A)
during the initial interview, and 17 were referred to the FPU for
further investigation. Five of the 17 cases were resolved before
the end of the year, including two that were found ineligible under
INA 212 (a)(5)(A) and three under INA 212 (a)(6)(C)(1).

E. ACS AND PASSPORT FRAUD: The most common form of passport fraud
encountered is attempts to document imposter Senegalese children as
American citizens. In FY2007, only one application for a Consular
Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) was refused due to a false claim of a
biological relationship by an American citizen. However, DNA
testing was recommended and not performed in 13 cases (15 percent of
FY2007 CRBA applications).

In 2007 a young woman holding a fraudulently obtained U.S. passport
was refused boarding in Dakar by Delta Airlines security officials
and referred to the Embassy. The young woman claimed she had lived
in the U.S. until age 12, when she was sent to live with relatives
in The Gambia. The FPU interviewed the young woman and determined
that she had never lived in the U.S. and the passport was
fraudulently obtained. Working together with the RSO's office, we
determined that she and her alleged mother in the U.S. had both
obtained legitimate U.S. passports through fraudulent claims.
Diplomatic Security has continued to pursue the alleged mother's
case in the U.S., and the young woman's passport was canceled in

F. ADOPTION FRAUD: While post processes IVs for adopted orphans
from seven West Africa countries, most of our adoption cases
originate in Sierra Leone. Adoption fraud is rampant in Sierra
Leone. The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender, and Children's
Affairs determines whether a child is adoptable and provides a
written recommendation to the High Court of Sierra Leone. The
Ministry appears to have no guidelines for making these
determinations and has done little to force orphanages to adopt
transparent procedures for selecting children who should be eligible
to be adopted abroad. Although Sierra Leonian law requires the
Ministry to investigate the whereabouts of biological parents
alleged to have disappeared, the Ministry appears not to do so.

Sierra Leone birth and identity documents are extremely unreliable.
As a result, Freetown's local fraud investigator has to interview
individuals in villages to confirm factual information.

Since April 2005, the Mission has requested that the U.S. Embassy
in Freetown conduct field investigations when an orphan adoption
case has one or more fraud indicators. In the majority of these
cases, the investigation has revealed that the children were not
orphans. In several cases, birth parents were not aware their
children were being adopted, or they believed their children were
going to the U.S. for education and would return at age 18.

G. USE OF DNA TESTING: Post uses DNA testing most frequently in
IR2, family preference IVs, V92s, and CRBA cases. Legitimate
documents based on fraudulent information are easily obtained, and
therefore we cannot rely heavily on local birth certificates. Panel
physicians in Dakar collect DNA samples locally, and the results are
sent directly to us.

H. ASYLUM AND OTHER DHS BENEFITS FRAUD: Most of post's V92/93 cases
involve applicants from Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Guinea and
Liberia. Relationship fraud is rampant, and DNA is often requested
to confirm the relationship.

Embassy Dakar sees a steady stream of applicants who claim to have
lost their I-551s (Green Cards). In many of these cases, the FPU
has established that the applicants had abandoned their legal
permanent residence status by remaining outside of the U.S. for more
then one year.

Post has seen little hard evidence of alien smuggling or
trafficking among visa applicants. While there are terrorist groups
and organized crime in the region, this does not appear to effect
our consular operations.

At the end of December, 2007, the Senegalese authorities began
issuing regular passports containing an electronic chip. The
consular section has not yet received an official exemplar, but has
seen the passports. Senegal issues four types of passports:
regular, diplomatic and official (passeport de service), and a
special passport that is used exclusively for the Hajj (passeport
pour le pelerinage). There are at least two iterations of each
passport that are currently valid and in circulation. Regular,

DAKAR 00000154 004 OF 005

diplomatic, and official passports all contain 32 pages and an image
of the Senegalese seal that is only visible under ultraviolet light.
All passports have separate book numbers and passport numbers. A
basic description of each passport follows:

Regular passports: From 2002 to 2007, Senegal issued biometric
passports. These passports have a dark green cover and light green
pages with depictions of African animals and a baobab tree
watermark, and are usually valid for four years. The biodata page
is on page 2. The cover has a gold seal of Senegal that includes a
lion and a baobab tree. The passport should contain a stamp on page
3 showing that the fee had been paid, and this should be stamped and
signed by a police official. The new electronic passports are
maroon and feature the same seal on the front. The biodata page is
on the inside of the front cover and is covered with a hologram that
says "Republique du Senegal" on the top and includes a series of
baobab trees, a turtle, and the Senegalese seal. The interior pages
are blue at the top and bottom and fade to a pink color in the
middle, include a number of small baobab trees and a watermark on
each page that is consistent with the front cover. Post will send
an exemplar to CA/FPP as soon as one is available.

Diplomatic passports: Since approximately 1997, Senegal has issued
dark blue diplomatic passports that have a round seal on the front
with a baobab tree. The pages are cream colored with red and brown
threads that form a sunburst pattern around a lion watermark. These
passports are hand-written and valid for one year, with the
possibility of multiple annual renewals. The bearer's photo is
glued on page 5 and covered with a thin laminate that is then dry
sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Around 2002, the
government also started issuing biometric diplomatic passports that
are blue. However, both iterations may still be valid, as many
individuals repeatedly renew their non-biometric book many times.
Diplomatic passports are often issued to non-diplomats, such as
prominent business owners and their families and religious leaders.
Post carefully interviews B1/B2 applicants holding diplomatic
passports to determine visa eligibility.

Official passports: Since approximately 1997, Senegal has issued
brown official passports that have a round seal on the front with a
baobab tree. The pages are cream colored with brown threads that
form a sunburst pattern around a lion watermark. These passports
are hand-written and valid for one year, with the possibility of
multiple annual renewals. The bearer's photo is glued on page 5 and
covered with a thin laminate that is then dry sealed by the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs. Around 2002, the government also started
issuing biometric official passports that have a reddish brown
cover. However, both iterations may still be valid, as some have
renewed these one-year passports many times.

Hajj passports: These one-year, reddish passports are rarely forged
by Senegalese and are used exclusively for travel to Mecca. As such,
they are very short (fewer than 10 pages). The passport includes a
photo that is glued on and covered with laminate.

Genuine documents with false information, including marriage, death,
and birth certificates, and passports are all easily obtained. Fake
documents are easily obtained as well, but are usually of poor
quality and can be identified due to inconsistent paper quality,
inconsistencies apparent in the document's information, and the
"official" stamp. Post has seen several cases of applicants with
valid passports that are either based on false biodata (i.e. based
on a fake birth certificate) or inconsistent biodata (i.e. benign
variations in name and/or date of birth). In 2006, Senegal began to
produce national identity cards that include an electronically
scanned photo. All Senegalese were compelled to apply for the new
cards, and anyone claiming to be Senegalese should be able to
produce this card if he or she has been in Senegal since 2006.

government cooperates well in fraud matters and requests for
document verifications. However, because of the high incidence of
fraud, post always submits "blind" verification requests, providing
authorities with only a minimum of data on the document and
requesting that the authorities provide the rest. Senegalese
authorities do not always have the ability to verify documents due
to the incompleteness of records.

Not all forms of visa fraud are regarded as serious offenses in
Senegal, and even government officials are at times willing to use
their positions to help friends and relatives obtain visas. While
the GOS does prosecute serious perpetrators, particularly foreign
scam artists, it will often drop criminal charges if the perpetrator
pays restitution to his/her victims. A January 2007 news story
alleged that high level government officials, including the Foreign
Minister, have colluded to issue legitimate Senegalese diplomatic

DAKAR 00000154 005 OF 005

passports to non-diplomats. Because Senegalese diplomatic passport
holders do not need visas to visit France and other Schengen
countries, there is a high demand for this type of passport. These
allegations have not/not been substantiated.

L. AREAS OF PARTICULAR CONCERN: K1, CR-1, and IR-1 visa fraud are
very common in Senegal. Almost 80 percent of K1 applicants are
referred to the FPU for investigation, and approximately 30 percent
are returned to the Department of Homeland Security with a
recommendation for revocation. Advance fee fraud and dating scams
are common in Senegal and post regularly receives emails or calls
from Amcits who have fallen victims of the scam.


1) Yvane K. Clark, Consular Associate, full-time Fraud Unit
Coordinator. She attended the following training courses in 2007:
the All-Africa Fraud Prevention Conference (Ghana), Fraud Prevention
for Consular Managers (FSI), and an FBI-sponsored Interviewing
Techniques Workshop (Cape Verde).

2) Moussa Sy, Locally Engaged Staff, part-time Local Fraud
Investigator. FSN Fraud Prevention Course (PC-542, FSI, Nov. 2007)

3) James Loveland, Consular Section Chief, part-time Fraud
Prevention Manager (FPM). No formal fraud prevention training.


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