Cablegate: September 2009 Fraud Summary - Casablanca

DE RUEHCL #0188/01 2681146
R 251146Z SEP 09 (ZDS)




E.O.12958: N/A

Ref A: Casablanca 46, Ref B: Casablanca 176,
Ref C: Doherty-Sexton e-mail April 6, 2009

CASABLANCA 00000188 001.2 OF 003

A. COUNTRY CONDITIONS: Morocco suffers from a high illiteracy rate,
chronic unemployment and corruption. The latest statistics we have
dated 2006 indicate 24 percent of all college undergraduates are
unemployed or underemployed. In addition, Morocco's geographic
proximity to Western Europe has historically made it a convenient
embarkation point for smugglers, narcotics traffickers, and those
wishing to get to Europe or the Western Hemisphere to find work.
Although post sees some NIV applicants trying to obtain F-1 and
B-1/B-2 visas as a means of getting to the United States, a growing
concern is the rate of Q-1 overstays of cultural representatives to
the Moroccan Pavilion at Disney's Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida.
In addition, marriage for immigration remains an ongoing concern for
both the consular section and post's DHS attache. Post sees many
Internet-based romances that turn into IV petitions.

B. NIV FRAUD: During this reporting period (March 1, 2009-August 31,
2009), post adjudicated 11,734 NIVs. Although the U.S. dollar
remains relatively strong against the Moroccan dirham since the last
reporting period, there still is interest in traveling to the United
States for business, pleasure, or to study.

NIV fraud consists of poor attempts at demonstrating ties such as
recent bank deposits, work certificates showing inflated salaries,
marginally qualified principal applicants with dependent children,
or those claiming they must travel with a sick relative who cannot
travel alone. Interviewing officers can resolve these cases through
in-depth interviews with the applicant. The FPU will, upon request,
conduct Internet research and telephone pretext calls to verify
bonafides of employment or business registrations. Almost all of
such applicants are refused under INA Section 214(b).

During this period, three NIV cases were referred to the FPU for
review or a suspicious documents case. A handful of applicants
submitted letters purportedly from American banks with greetings
such as "Dear Immigration Officer" or "Dear Consular Officer" or
with subject headings of "re: intent to obtain a visa." The letters
claim to verify that a U.S.-based relative or friend of the visa
applicant has sufficient funds to support the applicant's travel.
All cases in which such letters were submitted were refused 214b.
The one B-1/B-2 case with confirmed fraud involved an altered
Moroccan bank statement in which a call to the bank in question
confirmed the bank statement was not genuine. The applicant was
refused 214b.

As reported in Ref B, post conducted a validation study of B-1,
B-1/B-2 and B-2 visas issued between January and March 2008. Of the
321 applications reviewed, 230 traveled and returned to Morocco, 51
stated they had not used their visas yet and another 40 could not be
reached. The age groups of concern for possible overstays are both
men and women born before 1980. The overstay rate was about 9 per
cent of the sample. Post has not seen clearly from this study any
one group which stands out as overstaying or otherwise misusing
their visas, and will conduct additional studies to try and obtain
more insights into overstays. Working with FPP and DHS, post has
the preliminary results of a second validation study for B-1/B-2s
issued between May and July 2008. Analysis of that data is in

Using the SEVIS function in CCD, the FPM reviewed the status of
students issued F-1s between October 1, 2007-August 15, 2008, and
October 1, 2008-January 15, 2009, to attend Everest University in
Orlando, Florida. The student applicants were frequently refused
214(b) for not being able to show intent to return to Morocco or
having insufficient funds to pay for schooling. Of the 26 issuances
for October 1, 2007-August 15, 2008, none of the students were
actively studying at Everest University. One student apparently
never traveled to the United States per ADIS. The other 25 have all
transferred to other institutions. Fifteen (15) of these transfers
were to one institution, UCEDA, an ESL institute with campuses in
Florida, New Jersey and New York. Ten other students transferred to
other institutions around the United States. Twenty-three (23) are
active students at their second or sometimes third institution. One
already completed her study, but ADIS had no record of her departing
the United States. A second student appeared to have returned home
for good.

Of the nine student issuances for October 1, 2008-January 2009, two
were actively studying at Everest University. At the time of the
SEVIS study in April 2009, seven had transferred to another
institution (three of those to Everest's sister campus in Tampa upon
arrival without attending class at the Orlando campus), and three
had transferred to UCEDA, also upon arrival. These six were active
in their new institutions. Post reported its concerns about Everest
University to FPP via e-mail (Ref C). Interestingly, for the
recently concluded summer student season 2009, post only had one F-1

CASABLANCA 00000188 002.2 OF 003

applicant for Everest University, a student who had already been
studying English at a another institution in Texas and was now
transferring to do her MBA studies. In fact, post had a
significantly lower rate of questionable student applicants during
the summer student visa season.

C. IV FRAUD: During this period, FPU reviewed nine IV cases for
fraud. Suspect relationships are post's biggest concern as
relationship fraud is difficult to prove. Typical fraud indicators
are internet relationships between an American citizen petitioner
and Moroccan national beneficiary with minimal in-person contact,
inability of the beneficiary to describe the petitioner or provide
details of his/her life, large age differences between petitioner
and beneficiary, and marriage between relatives.

Multiple marriages and re-marriages between spouses (with the
petitioner often marrying an American citizen in-between to gain
legal permanent residency and U.S. citizenship) are also indicator.
Post has seen a decrease in this type of relationship fraud this
reporting period. Children born during the time their parents were
divorced are often indicators the male petitioner either divorced
his Moroccan wife and then married an American citizen for
immigration purposes, or falsified his second marriage to his
Moroccan wife by falsifying a divorce decree to marry an American
citizen while still legally married in Morocco.

Post is fortunate to have a strong working relationship with the DHS
Attach. Post's DHS office is concerned about the number of IV
petitions involving questionable marital relationships. The FPU
meets regularly with DHS to discuss marriage for immigration trends,
often reporting suspected past fraud by a petitioner.

D. DV FRAUD: Eleven DV cases have been referred to FPU this
reporting period. Post confirmed fraud in four DV cases during this
reporting period. All involved fraudulent high school degrees or
baccalaureates. The applicants were refused 5(A) because they all
made timely retractions when confronted with the truth. Three cases
were cleared of high school degree fraud, and a third was cleared of
marriage fraud concerns; all three have been issued. One DV-1
applicant was refused 5(A) because someone's photo was submitted
instead of his own; in addition, the DV-1's family was not included
at the time of the e-DV entry. Of the remaining pending cases, both
involve suspect marriages.

A growing concern is the attempt to obtain fraudulent
baccalaureates. In all of FY 2008, post had only one fake
baccalaureate confirmed, whereas there were four confirmed this
reporting period. Marriage fraud continues to be a concern and
pop-up marriages are interviewed more closely. However, in many
cases, the applicants can explain in detail how they were in a
relationship or courtship prior to the DV-1's application for the
lottery. Being selected for an interview legitimately sped up the
date of the marriage.

The other area of concern is an applicant trying to qualify for the
DV through job experience. A multi-pronged media campaign to
educate Moroccans on the minimum requirements for the DV has reduced
the number of applicants who could be found 5(A). However, some
still try their luck and apply for the DV. To date, only two DV
applicants for the FY 2009 program have qualified for the DV as a
result of job experience.

E. ACS AND U.S. PASSPORT FRAUD: ACS uncovered misrepresentation
after a passport to a minor child was issued. Initially, the
American citizen mother presented evidence that she had sole custody
of her child and thus was able to obtain a passport with only her
signature. A few weeks later, the Moroccan citizen father appeared
in the ACS Unit seeking assistance in locating his daughter. During
his conversation with ACS, he said that on the day of the passport
application, he was actually outside the consulate waiting for his
family. The mother of his child had insisted he wait outside. The
mother was arrested upon her return to the United States for a
different child custody matter, and DS opened an investigation
against her for passport fraud. She is currently free on bond, but
may face criminal charges for her actions.

Subsequent to this case, ACS had a similar incident in which an LPR
mother tried to obtain a passport for her American citizen child.
She told the ACS Chief that she had lost her green card and her
son's passport. She also said that she lost contact with her
husband and had no way of reaching him upon their return to Morocco.
Wary of the woman's story, ACS requested a field investigation to
verify the husband's whereabouts. The FPU's fraud investigator
easily located the man and encouraged him to contact his wife. As
ACS suspected, the husband and wife had an argument, and the husband
had retained both his wife's green card and his son's passport.
After some prodding with RSO and DHS' support, the father eventually
agreed to give back his son's original passport, thus negating the

CASABLANCA 00000188 003.2 OF 003

need to apply for a new one.

In a third case, a father tried to renew the passport of his minor
son. He claimed that he did not even remember the name of the boy's
mother and had no way of contacting her. ACS contacted OCS, who was
able to locate the mother in the United States. The mother was
overjoyed to learn about her son, whom she had not seen for the past
five years. ACS helped the father and mother talk on the phone, and
they are still trying to decide their plan for going forward.

F. ADOPTION FRAUD: Moroccan law does not allow for full adoptions of
Moroccan children. Post adjudicated 14 IR-4 cases during this
reporting period. The IV Unit continues to receive inquiries from
prospective adoptive parents requesting information on how to
process their cases. The majority of adoptive parents are Moroccan
American dual nationals.

G. USE OF DNA TESTING: No DNA testing was conducted during this
reporting period.

H. ASYLUM AND OTHER DHS BENEFIT FRAUD: None this reporting period.

None this reporting period.

J. DS CRIMINAL FRAUD INVESTIGATION: None this reporting period.

The Ministry of Interior started issuing the new Moroccan ID Card on
January 1, 2008. Currently, first-time applicants, applicants with
expired ID cards or those with changes of address can apply for the
new card. The Ministry of Interior expects to issue every Moroccan
the new card within the next four years. A new biometric passport
is also expected but start date to begin issuing these passports has
not been announced at this time. (Note-Ref A mistakenly reported a
start date had been announced.)

transit point between Europe, the Western Hemisphere and sub-Saharan
Africa. The FPU works closely with Royal Air Maroc, other airlines,
and the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Interior when the
authenticity of a U.S. travel document is in question. Royal Air
Maroc officials and immigration officials at Casablanca's Mohammed V
airport have been particularly vigilant and effective in detecting
visa fraud and contacting post.

M. AREAS OF PARTICULAR CONCERN: Marriage for immigration is an
ongoing concern for post. K-1, K-3, CR-1 and IR-1 cases often
require two or three interviews and reviews of correspondence to
confirm the bona fides of marital relationships. In cases where the
petitioner is remarrying a former spouse, field investigations are
frequently conducted. By working with post's DHS attache, the FPU
hopes to disseminate information about Moroccan marriage fraud
patterns to USCIS adjudicators in the hopes the fraud will be caught
at an earlier stage.

Another area of concern is Q-1 for cultural representatives for the
Moroccan Pavilion at the EPCOT Center in Florida. Post has long
suspected some Q-1s of figuring out ways to remain in the United
States. We regularly see NIV applications from friends or family of
former Q-1 applicants who remained in the United States. Post's IV
LE supervisor, a Q-1 alumnus himself, noted that of his Q-1 class,
only three (he and his two best friends) returned to Morocco. The
National Benefits Center for DHS recently contacted post about its
concerns of the high number of I-485s (Request to Establish
Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) it receives for Moroccan Q-1
recipients. Post shared its observations about what visa officers
see in their interviews. As a result of the e-mail from the
National Benefits Center, post also contacted Disney's international
recruitment and visa compliance officers about how they recruit Q-1s
in Morocco. Disney welcomed the contact, inviting post
representatives to observe its recruitment sessions to be held in
Rabat this coming November. Post heartily accepted the offer. The
information exchange with DHS and Disney will help post redesign its
visa interview questions. FPM has started work on a validation
study of Q-1s issued in the last few years who should have returned
to Morocco by now.

N. STAFFING AND TRAINING: The Fraud Prevention Unit consists of the
Deputy Consular Chief/Fraud Prevention Manager and LE Fraud
Investigator (FI), who was hired in April 2009, after the previous
investigator was hired by post's DHS Office. Post has nominated the
new investigator to PC-542 training at FSI in November 2009.


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