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Cablegate: Fraud Summary - Managua, Nicaragua

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #2577/01 3462243
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 122243Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1800
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS MANAGUA 002577

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR CA/FPP; DEPT PLEASE PASS TO KCC FPMAND TO
NVC FOR FPM; TO DS/CR/OCI James Schnaible
DEPT FOR WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRD CVIS ASEC CPAS CMGT PREL PTER XK NU
SUBJECT: FRAUD SUMMARY - MANAGUA, NICARAGUA

REF: (A) Managua 2544
(B) Managua 2332
(C) Managua 1899

1. (SBU) The following is Managua's quarterly report on the fraud
situation at post for the fourth quarter FY 07. Headings follow
reftel information requests.


a. COUNTRY CONDITIONS

In the last few months Nicaragua has been impacted by natural
disasters, political instability and rising oil prices that have
negatively affected the economy. Furthermore, Hurricane Felix had a
serious impact on the infrastructure of the country's coastal region
and continuing heavy rains adversely affected harvests in the
central and northern part of the territory. These economic factors
could lead to an increase in NIV applications for the next year.


b. NIV FRAUD

For the fourth quarter of FY 2007, 84 percent of the NIV workload at
post consisted of B1/B2 cases, followed by 6 percent C1/D and 3
percent C1.

The most common NIV fraud continues to involve B1/B2 cases with
easily detectable altered bank statements, falsified job letters and
fake payment stubs. However, there have been a few serious NIV fraud
cases worth noting this quarter.

The annual Exponica Crafts Fair in Miami brings forth hundreds of
marginal NIV applicants, creating ample opportunity for fraud.
Through pre-screening the Exponica cases, FPU has been able to alert
adjudicating officers to potential fraud. In one particular case,
FPU detected two different applicants with pictures of themselves
posing at the same workshop claiming to be from two different
geographic regions. Small retailers use these pictures as a way to
provide the consular officer with "evidence" of their alleged work.
FPU has started grouping these cases to report fraud trends in large
groups such as this.

FPU remains alert to problems related to trafficking in children.
One success story involved a voice message tip advising that a child
would be smuggled to the U.S. through putative parents holding valid
visas. Taking advantage of the "text search" option in CCD, FPU
located the three minors and the parents from the alert. The
Nicaraguan Civil Central Registrar's Office confirmed the biological
relationship between two of the minors and the parents; however, one
child was not listed as the alleged parent's biological child. FPU
interviewed both of the parents separately. The father was the first
confronted with the evidence. He openly admitted that the minor was
not his daughter but his niece. He also stated the minor's parents
were illegally present in the U.S. The alleged mother was reluctant
to admit fraud to FPU, but in the end signed a sworn confession to
the fraud. All visas were revoked. Interviewing techniques played a
major role in solving this case.

FPU initiated a communication between DHS and DOS in regard to
providing I-275 electronically to CONS. Once it becomes fully
functional, the electronic process will save time and allow
adjudicating officers to search for and review files electronically.


c. IV FRAUD

Nicaraguan civil documents are still vulnerable to fraud in IV
cases. An FPU Assistant detected a late birth inscription in an
immigrant visa case and referred the case to FPU. During the
interview the beneficiary admitted being the nephew and not the
petitioner's biological son.

d. DV FRAUD

No changes or updates to report this quarter.

e. ACS AND PASSPORT FRAUD

During this reporting period, two fathers admitted to the Consul
while processing CRBA applications for their "children" that they
were not the biological fathers. Interviewing techniques played a
major role in deterring these fraudulent applications. The FPU has
performed five investigations for the ACS unit. While none of these
investigations confirmed fraud, they were invaluable in uncovering
potential vulnerabilities in the documentation process of children
born at private hospitals and actually helped expedite the
processing of these CRBA and passport applications.

f. ADOPTION FRAUD

Post continues to work on one of the adoption fraud cases mentioned
in the last three quarter's fraud summary. The case involves a
five-year-old girl that obtained an NIV to travel to the U.S. with
American citizens (Amcits) for medical treatment. The surviving
parent gave the Amcits consent to take the child to the U.S. for a
short period while she was being treated. (Note: This child was
under the custody of the Ministry of the Family when the child was
taken out of Nicaragua. The biological mother had no legal authority
to grant consent for the child to exit the country. Although the
child was permitted out of the country, the consent was invalid. End
Note.)

Once in the U.S., the Amcits initiated adoption proceedings. FPU
discovered that the Amcits used falsified documents to file for the
adoption with the Government of Nicaragua (GoN) and with the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The organization that
conducted the family's home study has since rescinded because of the
fraud and other related reasons.

The Ministry of the Family recently provided post with a renewed
official request to have the child returned to the Nicaragua,
including copies of the legal documents which made the child a ward
of the state. FPU has provided ICE these legal documents in order to
facilitate the removal of the child from the custody of these
particular Amcits. The GoN may consider granting adoption of the
child to another Amcit family who has already adopted four
handicapped Nicaraguan children.

g. ASYLUM AND OTHER DHS BENEFITS

No changes or updates to report this quarter.

h. COOPERATION WITH HOST GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES

FPU worked with host government authorities at the request of the
Office of the Attorney General of Texas who requested Nicaraguan
Civil documents to confirm the true age of a Nicaraguan accused in a
murder case.

The GoN recently implemented new procedures for consular access to
American prisoners, which have limited consular, family, and
attorney access to American prisoners. On four different occasions
Consular Staff members were denied access to American prisoners in
local facilities although the proper procedures to request access
were followed.

While a recent meeting between the Ambassador and the Minister of
Government has appeared to resolve these issues for now, based on
past experience, we project that this will be an ongoing issue for
the Consular Section during the Ortega Administration.

The FPU has played an active role in attempting to set up consular
prison visits as well as enhance communication between the GoN and
the consular section.

i. AREAS OF PARTICULAR CONCERN

The GoN has a three category visa system. Category A countries do
not require visas to enter Nicaragua; many of the category A
countries coincide with U.S. Visa Waver Countries. Category B visas
consist of consular visas that can be issued at the discretion of
consular officials posted abroad without any consultation with
Managua. Category C countries require the approval of the Nicaraguan
Immigration Service prior to visa issuance by a Consular Official,
and consist largely of countries of special concern (both with
regard to illegal migration and international terrorism).

The GoN is currently considering a redesign of their Visa Category
Chart to reflect the new diplomatic relations and priorities of the
Ortega Administration. The first step in this direction was taken on
November 28, 2007, when the Nicaraguan government sent a letter to
all air carriers operating at Managua's International Airport
announcing that all Libyans and
Iranians(diplomats/officials/regulars)could enter Nicaragua without
a visa (REF A). Additional changes are expected to follow.

High-ranking government officials in the Foreign Ministry have also
suggested to Embassy officials on several occasions the possibility
of making Nicaragua a completely "visa free" country which allows
all nationalities in without visas. Obviously, such a radical
change would be of major concern to the USG in terms both of illegal
immigration and the movement of terrorists and other criminal
elements.

Costa Rica's new diplomatic relationship with The People's Republic
of China has the potential to draw a large numbers of
northward-bound Chinese migrants to the Central America region.
Nicaragua's southern border with Costa Rica is extremely vulnerable
to illegal immigration (and trafficking of people and/or drugs).
The GoN continues to meet with neighboring northern partners in the
CA-4 free movement area (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador)
towards establishing a single Central American Visa. Although the
recent GON decision to allow Iran visa-free entry has caused
consternation among the other C-4 nations.

j. STAFFING AND TRAINING

The FPU in coordination with ARSO-I continue to hold bi-weekly fraud
training sessions for consular officers and local consular staff.
This quarter FPU and ARSO-I conducted basic U.S. travel document
fraud training for twenty individuals from two major airlines.

Trivelli

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