Cablegate: Fraud Summary - Vladivostok

INFO LOG-00 MFA-00 AF-00 A-00 CA-00 CIAE-00 INL-00
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OBO-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 LAB-01 MMP-00 MOFM-00
MOF-00 DCP-00 NSAE-00 OIG-00 CAEX-00 PER-00 DOHS-00
IRM-00 SSO-00 SS-00 MR-00 VO-00 NCTC-00 ASDS-00
FMP-00 CBP-00 ECA-00 DSCC-00 DRL-00 CARC-00 NFAT-00
SAS-00 FA-00 PESU-00 /001W

R 230448Z SEP 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Local Conditions: Though Primorye's government reported six
percent growth in the gross regional product in 2008, the
economic situation in the past few months is showing signs of
trouble. The first sector to feel the economic crisis in
Primorye was the mining and extracting industry. In late 2008
the industry began suffering from falling world prices for lead,
zinc, and tungsten. Several mining facilities in the Russian
Far East have suspended production and by January 2009, the
timber sector also began to suffer. Unemployment is rising
faster than originally predicted by the government, and with it
criminality has risen as well. In addition to the general
economic downturn, local businesses have suffered as a result of
increased tariffs on timber exports, an increase in import fees
on vehicles, and a recent prohibition on exporting scrap metal
from ports in Primorye, affecting import-export businesses.
Russian officials hoped that infrastructure projects being
constructed for the 2012 APEC Summit in Vladivostok would
provide a boost in employment opportunities, but many of the
construction jobs have gone to workers from China, Vietnam, and
other regions within Russia. In addition, the number of planned
projects has been dramatically decreased and federal funding for
the projects remains a moving target. The Russian Pacific Fleet
also announced plans to shed 5,000 officers, warrant officers,
and noncommissioned officers. Unemployment figures are dubious,
however, as regional officials have reportedly been instructed
to underreport unemployment.

2. Population continues to decline in the Russian Far East. The
national resettlement program launched in 2006 and designed to
attract newcomers to the RFE has been deemed a failure by GOR
officials. Medvedev has asked Yedinaya Rossiya leaders to find
new ways to encourage people to move to the RFE. The population
of the region has declined since 1991 by 19.5% to 6.5 million.
Recent polls have shown that approximately 70 percent of Russian
Far East residents indicated a willingness to leave the area if
better employment were available.

3. Despite these considerations, nonimmigrant visa fraud is
generally low, due in part to the expense involved in traveling
from the Russian Far East to the United States, and the fact
that fraud schemes are likely to be caught relatively quickly
here because of the relatively low visa load. Post has
anticipated an increase in underemployed and/or unemployed
applicants seeking NIVs; however, few have been seen and the
refusal rate remains low.

4. NIV fraud: The most common type of B1/B2 fraud involves
fraudulent documents; however, these documents are usually of
low quality and an applicant's documents will often contain
conflicting information. Over 40% of Vladivostok's NIVs are
C1/Ds. Post finds very little C1/D fraud. The FSNs are
familiar with the local ship companies and crewing agencies.
Applicants for C1/D visas from unknown entities are closely
scrutinized. Further, many of Vladivostok's C1/D applicants
have previously held U.S. visas.

5. Vladivostok sees relatively few applications for L visas;
however, 2 recent applications for transfers to newly
established offices in the U.S. were the subjects of revocation
memos. One applicant claimed to have worked for three years in
an executive position for a Thai business that, according to the
fraud officer in Bangkok, appears not to be operating. The
other applicant operates a successful business here in Russia,
but the U.S. office seems to be bogus. Both applicants appeared
to be applying for L visas so that their children could study in
the U.S. and/or so that their spouses could also live in the
U.S. for unrelated purposes.

6. IV fraud: IVs are not processed in Vladivostok.

7. DV fraud: DVs are not processed in Vladivostok.

8. ACS and U.S. passport fraud: No ACS or U.S. Passport fraud
has been detected.

9. Adoption fraud: Vladivostok pre-processes adoption cases
for final adjudication in Moscow. No fraud has been detected.

10. Use of DNA testing: DNA testing has not been used during
the previous six months.

11. Asylum and other DHS benefit fraud: None.

12. Alien smuggling, trafficking, organized crime, terrorist
travel: Compared to previous years, there has been a decrease in
the number of applicants that can clearly be identified as being
associated with organized crime. Nevertheless, we occasionally
see visa applicants who have been previously entered into Class
as 3A2.

13. DS criminal fraud investigations: Vladivostok occasionally
assists with DS investigations by providing relevant information
from Vladivostok fraud files to DS in Moscow.

14. Host country passport, identity documents, and civil
registry: Russian identity documents and records are generally
considered to be reliable.

15. Cooperation with host government authorities: Vladivostok
enjoys a good working relationship with local law enforcement
authorities, including the militia and prosecutor's office.
Requests for information regarding applicants suspected of
criminal activity are usually promptly responded to.

16. Areas of particular concern: None at this time.

17. Staffing and training: Vladivostok has a single consular
officer and four FSNs, all of whom work with the processing of
visas and assist in fraud prevention by watching for suspicious
applications and supporting documents. Note: The Consulate,
with Embassy Moscow support, is seeking an additional American
rotational position for the Consular and Political sections.
The FSN primarily responsible for fraud prevention received
anti-fraud training at FSI in 2004. The consular officer has
participated in the Fraud Prevention Management, Advanced
Namecheck, and Analytic Interviewing courses at FSI.


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