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Cablegate: Quarterly Fraud Summary - Nairobi

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNR #2771/01 1870656
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 060656Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0847
INFO RUEHPNH/NVC PORTSMOUTH 0283
RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 4969
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9415
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 4860
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 1879

UNCLAS NAIROBI 002771

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 2307, B. Nairobi 1389, C. 06 Nairobi 3733, D. 06
NAIROBI 2782, E. 06 NAIROBI 2509, F. 06 NAIROBI 1650, G. 06 NAIROBI
817, H. 06 NAIROBI 740, I. 05 STATE 205073, J. 05 NAIROBI 4523, K.
05 NAIROBI 3627

1. (U) Summary. The following report replies to Ref I 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 - KENYA, THE EYE OF THE STORM
------------------

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. Nairobi's current
complement of one full-time FSN investigator in FPU is insufficient,
and Post requests that Washington continue to entertain our request
for an additional FSN position (Ref A).

3. (SBU) Over the past quarter, Post reviewed each applicant's
online appointment record in order to clear phony appointment
bookings that caused significant backlogs and many public
complaints. Working with ISC, Nairobi changed the parameters which
previously allowed applicants to manipulate the appointment system.
Nairobi reviewed and deleted fake appointments from the system by
sorting all appointments by phone number and looking for
commonalities between appointments. As a result the average "no
show" rate (applicants who book an appointment, but do not appear on
the appointment date) has dropped from 40 percent last quarter to
around 10 percent, allowing Post much better workflow control.

4. (U) FPU Nairobi is concerned that, similar to early errors in
EVAF-related data collection, the statistics for "cases referred to
FPU" and "suspicious docs" are being significantly under-reported.
For the quarter, the CCD report is showing that Nairobi had 11 total
fraud cases in IV/DV and 4 total cases in NIV. In reality,
adjudicators have noted "suspicious documents" in hundreds of
applications while sending a select few to FPU for review over the
quarter. Nairobi recognizes that Washington actively uses these
reports, and is disappointed that they are not accurately reflecting
the fraud situation at Post.

-----------
NIV FRAUD - STUDENT VISAS VALIDATION STUDY RESULTS
-----------

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. However, Post has recently noted that applicants are
varying the spelling of sponsor names in an attempt to throw off our
text search accuracy, suggesting a need for "fuzzy" search
capabilities in CCD. Post also noticed an increase in the
submission of fraudulent high school certificates by F1 candidates
as we enter the high season for student applications. One notable
applicant received a $10,000 scholarship based on a fraudulent high
school certificate. Nairobi is currently gathering information for
an investigation into what we believe is a Kenyan bank that is
complicit in financial support fraud.

6. (SBU) Nairobi completed the analysis of all F1 visa issuances
between January 2004 and December 2005. Interns, summer hires,
conoffs, and FSNs collected data through CCD over the summer of 2006
to determine the SEVIS status of each student approved for an F1
during that two-year time period. The graphical analysis was
completed by NIV Assistant Alice Kimuhu who deserves kudos for her
efforts.

7. (SBU) Analysis of the data reveals interesting trends. The
percentage of students with "active" SEVIS status declines over time
at a sharp, relatively linear rate. Over 85 percent of students
issued in December 2005 were active in the system; however, of those
issued a year earlier only 65 percent maintained an active SEVIS
status, and at its lowest rate for the study, only 40 percent of
students issued visas in March 2004 were active (based on data
captured in summer 2006). As expected, "terminated" SEVIS status is
inversely proportional to the "active" rate. For example, in
December 2005, less than 5 percent of F1 visa holders had terminated
SEVIS status, while 30 percent of those issued a year earlier
(December 2004) had a terminated status.

8. (U) The analysis appears to support Post's two major concerns: a)
that most student visa holders are not capable of funding a U.S.
education in the long-term, and b) that even qualified students use
the F1 category as a vehicle to expeditiously immigrate to the U.S.
Articles published in the Kenyan press ("It Is No Bed of Roses for
Kenyans in the US," The Standard, June 6, for example), and both
immigrant and non-immigrant visa interviews of family members
suggest that a large number of F1 applicants either fall out of
status or become LPRs within a few years of entering the U.S.
Assuming the average course of study for students is at least four
years, Nairobi is nonetheless surprised by the number of applicants
who are unable to maintain SEVIS status after only a few years.
Post is convinced that the vast majority of students who fail to
maintain "active" status do not return to Kenya, but stay in the
U.S. indefinitely.

----------
IV FRAUD - SOMALIS MARRYING SIBLINGS, COACHING, FORGERY
----------

9. (SBU) Nairobi's Somali immigrant and diversity visa workload,
which is fraught with fraud, continues to grow. Between 2004 and
2005, there was a 27 percent increase in Somali applicants, followed
by a 31 percent increase in the following year. Somali IV
relationship fraud remains very high, particularly in K1, K3, and
IR1 petitions. Post has become much more liberal in its requests
for DNA testing to exclude sibling relationships, particularly among
cases involving Somali applicants given the general lack of any
relationship evidence provided by most applicants. As a result, in
the past quarter, Nairobi has confirmed at least 10 separate cases
in which DNA showed a sibling or half-sibling relationship for
applicants claiming to be spouses.

10. (U) Nairobi has wondered for some time why all Somali IV cases
tell us the same relationship story: Generally, the applicant and
petitioner were neighbors in Mogadishu, lost track of each other,
then magically reunited and shortly thereafter had a wedding that
was attended by few if any family members. These cases are typified
by a lack of relationship evidence, but at the same time provide few
"smoking guns" for the purposes of revocation.

11. (SBU) Post now has a good idea why Somali applicants all share
the same relationship story. In the course of an interview, an
observant officer and translator intercepted a coaching letter
written by an IR-1 petitioner to the applicant providing answers to
our potential questions. The answers included prompts for his name,
where he was born, when he attended school, his history in Kenya,
the relationship story and names of his parents, and a warning to
only provide the information if requested by the officer. The
letter further confirms Nairobi's suspicions that for many Somali
IR-1, K-1, and K-3 petitions, we cannot be certain of the stated
identities or relationships. The near absence of F4 sibling
petitions for Somali applicants suggest that most petitioners choose
the faster, non-numerically limited, IR-1 category for their
siblings despite the risk of being caught in a fraudulent
relationship.

12. (SBU) Nairobi's IV staff noticed an irregularity in a 212(g)(1)
waiver application for an IV applicant who had tested HIV positive.
The waiver submission included several letters from a clinic in the
U.S. promising to provide free medical care to the applicant;
however, the signatures on the letters appeared to differ
significantly. FPU contacted the clinic which confirmed the forged
letter which promised to greatly enhance the level of support the
clinic was actually willing to provide. The petitioner, unhappy
with the original letter, apparently decided to take matters into
his own hands, rewrite the letter, and forge the signature. As a
result, the clinic withdrew their support for the applicant
completely and apparently canceled the applicant's access to free
treatment in the state where the petitioner resides.

----------
DV FRAUD - GHOST MARRIAGES BECOME MORE COMPLEX
----------

13. (SBU) As the 2007 DV season reaches its peak, Nairobi has again
noticed a high fraud rate, and many commonalities between ghost
marriages from western Kenya, particularly from the Kisii tribe. In
their latest attempt to convince conoffs of these ghost marriages,
the fraud rings have begun pairing principal applicants with
pregnant added spouses, claiming the child is their own. Detailed
Stokes interviews reveal that even pregnant added spouses have great
difficulty memorizing their created relationship stories, leading to
significant discrepancies between members of the ghost marriages.

14. (SBU) Several desperate applicants have engaged in separate
ghost marriages in both the 2006 and 2007 DV seasons. The
statistical likelihood of someone marrying a DV winner one year,
divorcing, and marrying another DV winner the following year seems
miniscule, and the fraud in each of these cases confirms our
suspicions. In another recent case, both applicant and spouse were
listed on the original electronic DV submission; however, a poison
pen revealed that the principal applicant and spouse were brother
and sister. A call to one of the applicant's employers revealed
that the relationship was a hoax.

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

15. (SBU) This quarter has netted several confirmed fraudulent cases
in which Somali and Sudanese-American parents have attempted to
register births and seek passports for children using forged Kenyan
documents, to include birth certificates.

16. (SBU) Nairobi FPU believes we've intercepted another IRS refund
check scam. Most recently, a refund check from the IRS worth over
$700,000 was issued to what appears to be a "dummy" name and address
in Kenya. A local bank called FPU regarding a similar check in the
amount of $957,221 in July of last year. Scrutiny of the passports
of those attempting to cash last year's check revealed that the
passports were forgeries. FPU has turned the most recent check over
to Legatt for further investigation, and informed IRS
representatives at AmEmbassy London.

--------
ADOPTION - MORE FORGERIES
--------

17. (U) Nairobi has had one adoption case this quarter with a
confirmed fake high court decree approving the adoption. In the
past we have received similar forgeries in cases like this one 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,
and Kenyan requirements of physical cohabitation, petitioners resort
to forged court documents to expedite the process.

---------------
ASSISTING USCIS - STILL MORE FORGERIES
---------------

18. (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. The majority of document
verification requests continue to involve fraudulent divorce
decrees.

---------------
HOST GOVERNMENT - GENEVA CONVENTION, WHAT'S THAT?
---------------

19. (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 this 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. While Police claim they
informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) regarding the death,
Post has yet to receive notification, though several months have
passed. Post vigorously protested this shortcoming in a series of
diplomatic notes, and continues to badger the MFA on this issue.

----------------
AREAS OF CONCERN - COME TO KENYA, BECOME A NEW PERSON
----------------

20. (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. For example,
Kenyan Police recently apprehended Farah Ahmed Hirsi, aka Ahmed
Hirsi Farah in relation to the downtown Nairobi bombing on June 11.
Immigration officials question his possession of a valid Kenyan
passport, as he was born in Somalia, but appears to have
fraudulently procured a birth certificate and other identity
documents to support a claim of Kenyan citizenship. 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
would like Washington to reconsider our request to 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 believe 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 - MORE WORK, SAME STAFF LEVELS
---------------------

21. (U) Nairobi has begun to accept NIV, IV, and DV cases from
Eritrea following the closure of visa operations in Asmara.
Eritrean cases accounted for 23 percent of the total IV caseload for
June, our first full month accepting cases from Asmara. Given that
Eritrean documents are unreliable, and we are unaware of the social
norms in Eritrea, Nairobi hopes to take AmEmbassy Asmara up on its
invitation to train our sole fulltime FPU investigations once
Nairobi's workload slows at the end of the fiscal year.

22. (U) The FPU unit includes one full-time FSN, Francis Marawoshe,
who is currently undergoing FSI training. FPU Nairobi's heavy
workload necessitates a second fulltime FSN position. Nairobi
eagerly awaits Washington's response to our Ref A request. Due to
short staffing among the officers, Post's fraud prevention efforts
at the officer level have been diminished. The current Fraud
Prevention Manager with collateral duties is Etienne LeBailly, who
received FPM training in December 2005. Post also has an A/RSO-I
with collateral duties. Both the FPM and A/RSO-I depart Post this
summer.

SLUTZ

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