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Cablegate: Major Visa Fraud Arrest in Sao Paulo

VZCZCXRO5372
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHSO #0521 2741614
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301614Z SEP 08
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8556
INFO RHMFIUU/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 9688
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 8868
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 4207

UNCLAS SAO PAULO 000521

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED-PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

STATE FOR CA/FPP AND DS/CR/OCI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRD CVIS ASEC BR
SUBJECT: Major Visa Fraud Arrest in Sao Paulo

1. (SBU) Summary: On Sept. 23, 2008, a joint Fraud Prevention Unit
(FPU)/Assistant Regional Security Officer Investigator (ARSO-I)
investigation resulted in the detention of a document producer, a
document vendor and three non-immigrant visa applicants. Police
were filing charges against them for respectively producing, selling
and submitting packages of fake supporting documents in furtherance
of fraudulently obtaining Non-Immigrant United States visas. The
applicants gave statements, and the vendor and producer were charged
under Brazilian Law with Article 171, Fraud. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On Friday, September 19, 2008, RSO assets advised FPU that
five individuals who had purchased document packages from a known
vendor, Luis Carlos de Aguiar, were applying for visas. When the
individuals appeared at pre-screening, their documents were sent to
the FPU for analysis. FPU contacted ARSO-I, but local police were
unavailable, so the documents were retained and the applicants
refused under 221g with a request to return the following Monday.
The information from the applications - business names, phone
numbers, children's schools, and address - were entered as Consular
Consolidated Database Watchphrase Alerts. The five individuals did
not return on Monday.

3. (SBU) On Tuesday, the applications of six additional applicants
(three adults presenting applications for themselves and three minor
children not present) matched to the Watchphrase Alerts. Their
documentation was collected by FPU and the case passed to ARSO-I.
ARSO-I contacted the Brazilian civil police, who swiftly responded.
In the meantime, FPU obtained confirmation that the documentation
for the banks and schools was false.

4. (SBU) After the applicants were denied and left the Consulate
grounds, police took them into custody. The applicants led the
police into the Blue Planet Travel Agency, directly across the
street from the public consular section entrance. The "travel
agency" (the city of Sao Paulo indicated it has no business license)
was set to open the next day. The three applicants admitted to
paying the "travel agency" owner, Luis Carlos de Aguiar, the
equivalent of USD 24,000, collectively, for the purpose of
fraudulently obtaining United States tourist visas. Inside Blue
Planet Travel, police found Luis Carlos, a small staff, and evidence
implicating him in this fraudulent activity. Luis Carlos was
arrested on charges of Article 171 Fraud, and en route to the police
station, confessed to purchasing the documents from Estevan Da
Silva, who was also found and taken into custody.

5. (SBU) A Text Search of telephone numbers associated with Luis
Carlos de Augiar indicate he had been operating for roughly 12
months. Prior to September 23, 31 clients were identified, 17 of
whom were issued visas and 14 refused.

6. (SBU) Comment: The detection and arrest of this document vendor
resulted from the close collaboration between FPU, ARSO-I, and
excellent cooperation from the Civil Police in Sao Paulo. It also
illustrates the immense value of the CCD Watchphrase Alert feature.
End Comment.

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