Cablegate: Fraud Summary - Chengdu (April to September 2009)
RR RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHCN #0223/01 2820455
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090455Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL CHENGDU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3448
INFO RUEHPNH/NVC PORTSMOUTH NH
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1926
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0836
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 0799
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0822
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 4142
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 CHENGDU 000223
DEPT FOR CA/FPP
DHS FOR CIS/FDNS
DEPT ALSO PASS TO KCC
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRD CVIS CPAS CMGT ASEC CH
SUBJECT: FRAUD SUMMARY - CHENGDU (APRIL TO SEPTEMBER 2009)
REF: 08 STATE 74840
CHENGDU 00000223 001.2 OF 004
1. The Chengdu consular district covers Sichuan, Yunnan and
Guizhou Provinces, the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), and the
Chongqing Municipality. The majority of the Consulate's NIV
applicants hail from Chengdu, Chongqing and Kunming, followed by
Guiyang and smaller cities and towns throughout the region. Post
sees relatively few applicants from the TAR.
2. The social and economic conditions in the Chengdu consular
district mirror those found in the Mission's other four consular
districts. Chengdu City tends to present the most qualified
applicants, while Yunnan, Chongqing, Guizhou, and the rural
areas in Sichuan Province outside of the capital tend to have a
higher percentage of fraudulent cases. A large portion of the
cases from the TAR are refused for a lack of strong ties rather
than suspected or confirmed fraud.
3. Post's Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU) conducted 252
investigations during the reporting period and confirmed fraud
in 28 NIV cases. Even when fraud was not confirmed, however,
many of the FPU's investigations remained inconclusive,
indicating the possibility of fraud. In over 40 NIV cases,
either the applicant's employment or purpose of travel could not
4. The majority of the confirmed fraudulent cases involved
supposed business travelers applying to travel to the U.S. on a
B1/B2 visa and who presented fraudulent work credentials or fake
invitation letters from U.S. inviters. Out-of-district
applicants did not contribute greatly to the FPU workload,
primarily because these applicants already tend to have a
relatively high refusal rate.
Fujianese Fake Passport Cases
5. Post continues to encounter applicants who claim to be from
Chengdu's consular district, but in fact, have falsified their
place of issue and place of birth on their PRC-issued passport
in order to conceal their Fujianese identity. The majority of
these altered passports also contain fake Australian and
Schengen/EU visas used to claim prior international travel.
Since early 2009, an additional eleven cases fitting this fraud
pattern have been discovered in Chengdu, bringing the total
number of fake Fujianese passport cases to 43.
6. Previously, these applicants tended to apply in groups of
three and claimed to be participants in a trade fair, usually as
managers of a furniture manufacturer. More recently, however,
they have been applying as individuals, usually as purported
business travelers going for technical training. As before, the
applicants presented a package of well-prepared fraudulent
documents, some of which included employment letters from real
companies in China. In one case, an applicant claimed to be an
artist and brought with him an elaborate art portfolio,
including a high-quality hardbound picture book of his work.
7. In the most recent cases detected in Chengdu, vigilant line
officers identified suspect passports during fingerprinting or
interviews, after which the FPU immediately alerted the local
Public Security Bureau (PSB). Once the PSB confirmed the
passports were indeed fraudulent, the FPM notified the RSO, who
then coordinated with the PSB to have the applicant detained
CHENGDU 00000223 002.2 OF 004
outside of the consulate. Chengdu's FPM and RSO continue to
work with police investigators from the Sichuan and Fuzhou
(Fujian) Public Security Bureaus to share information about
8. H1B and L1 fraud continues to be a serious concern in
Chengdu's consular district. The FPU has confirmed some type of
fraud in at least twelve H1B and L1-A cases that it has
investigated during the reporting period. Blanket L applicants
do not present the same level of concern and generally tend to
be legitimate intra-company transferees.
9. During the course of their interviews, many L1-A applicants
fail to adequately describe their business plans or are unable
to demonstrate that they have the requisite experience in a
managerial or executive capacity to qualify for their visas.
Because fraud in this category is a growing concern, Chengdu's
FPU now routinely conducts fraud investigations for these cases,
and when possible, site visits to the beneficiaries' companies.
10. Chengdu does not process immigrant visa applications.
DIVERSITY VISA FRAUD
11. Chengdu does not process diversity visa applications.
ACS AND PASSPORT FRAUD
12. Post has had one significant case of suspected ACS fraud
during the reporting period involving an Amcit child whose
Chinese-citizen mother submitted a passport renewal application
on her behalf. The mother also presented a death certificate
for the girl's father, along with pictures of their purported
trip to Europe. The interviewing officer noticed the travel
stamps in girl's U.S. passport did not match the photos, at
which point the mother admitted that she had presented doctored
13. The case was referred to the FPU, which discovered that the
name on the father's death certificate did not match the name on
the original at the issuing hospital. Likewise, the photo on
the mother's national ID card did not match the photo on the
original ID registry maintained by the local government. When
the adjudicating officer requested another interview, the mother
came alone, claiming her daughter was too sick to attend. The
case remains open and a letter has been sent to the mother
requesting that she come in for another interview. She must
also bring her daughter and all of the documents she used to
apply for her daughter's U.S. passport. Based on FAM guidance,
she has 90 days in which to respond before post must deny the
passport renewal application.
14. Post is not aware of any fraud or special concerns in this
CHENGDU 00000223 003.2 OF 004
USE OF DNA TESTING
15. Post is not aware of any fraud or special concerns in this
area. All DNA tests are conducted in accordance with FAM
ASYLUM AND OTHER DHS BENEFITS
16. Post receives occasional requests from DHS for materials
relating to asylum claims filed by individuals issued visas in
Chengdu. Travel letter applications are also closely
scrutinized for possible fraud.
DS CRIMINAL FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS
17. Post currently has no pending investigations.
ALIEN SMUGGLING, TRAFFICKING, ORGANIZED CRIME, TERRORIST TRAVEL
18. High-quality fraudulent documents produced by document
vendors and visa brokers continue to be a problem. These
include fraudulent EU, Canadian, and Australian visas;
employment, bank, and housing documents; and U.S. invitation
letters. The fake passport cases from Fujianese applicants
masquerading as locals continue to raise concerns about
smuggling rings in the Chengdu consular district.
COOPERATION WITH HOST GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES
19. Post continues to have good relations with the local Public
Security and Entry and Exit Bureaus. Cooperation and
information sharing has helped facilitate the detention and
arrest of visa applicants using fraudulent or altered PRC
passports. Post has been allocated a new A-RSO/I position which
will further help the FPU work closely with local Public
Security and Entry and Exit Bureaus throughout Chengdu's
COOPERATION WITH THIRD-COUNTRY GOVERNMENTS
20. The FPU does regular outreach to other foreign consulates
in Chengdu's consular district, whereby information about fraud
patterns and FPU and other consular best practices is shared.
During the reporting period, the FPU met with counterparts at
the British, Canadian, German and Japanese consulates.
STAFFING AND TRAINING
21. Chengdu's Fraud Prevention Unit consists of one part-time
Fraud Prevention Manager and one full time FSN Investigator.
The Unit's Manager is Walter Andonov and the Fraud Prevention
Investigator (FPI) is Song Qi. Consular Assistant Yu Jun serves
as the back-up FPI. The incoming FPM Aaron Rupert will assume
his FPU duties in mid-December 2009.
CHENGDU 00000223 004.2 OF 004
22. Chengdu's FPM also serves as the section's Deputy Consular
Chief. Chengdu's FPI spends approximately 20 percent of her
time assisting other FSNs in the section with routine visa and
ACS work. Post has been allocated a new A-RSO/I position that
is expected to be staffed in calendar year 2010. The A-RSO/I
will play an important role in liaising with local law
enforcement and border control agencies, and with other foreign
consulates in Chengdu's consular district.
23. Chengdu's FPM trains all new line officers in post-specific
fraud prevention techniques. The FPM developed an updated Unit
SOP and sends out fraud notices and updates on an ad hoc basis.
The FPU has also developed a fraud library, made up of sample
fraudulent and authentic local and U.S. documents. This library
will be used as part of regular training sessions, during which
officers will be able to more formally discuss the fraud
patterns they see on the interviewing line.
24. The FPM, in coordination with Chengdu's Post Language
Officer, designed an 8-lesson, consular-specific Sichuan dialect
course which began in September and is being funded by the Post
Language Program. The course is taught by native speakers and
is focused on consular officers' specific needs for use on the
visa interviewing line. The FPM believes that being able to
recognize and understand the local dialect will serve Chengdu's
consular officers as an effective fraud detection tool.