Cablegate: Fraud Summary - Chile
DE RUEHSG #1022/01 3021836
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291807Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0197
INFO RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
UNCLAS SANTIAGO 001022
DEPT FOR CA/FPP, DHS FOR CIS/FDNS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS KFRD CPAS CMGT ASEC CI
SUBJECT: FRAUD SUMMARY - CHILE
REF: 09 STATE 041657Z
Post is submitting the following fraud summary report, which covers
the period between March 2009 to August 2009, in accordance with
1. Chile is a democratic country with a developing free-market
economy. Chile is a key U.S. partner in promoting democracy, human
rights, and free trade in the region and beyond. The United States
and Chile have a Free Trade agreement that took effect January 1,
2004. Compared to other countries in the region, there is
relatively little migratory "pull" to the United States. Chilean
civil documents are generally reliable and formatting and security
features in Chilean civil documents make falsification difficult.
Chilean passports are machine readable and difficult to obtain
fraudulently. Chile has a reliable system of reporting lost or
stolen passports, driver's licenses, and Chilean identification
cards (known as RUTs). Chileans are assigned a national ID number
at the time the parents register children at the Civil Registry to
obtain a birth certificate. The actual RUT card is normally not
issued until a person begins traveling internationally or enters
university. Much like the system of reporting a lost or stolen
credit card in the U.S., Chilean citizens can go online to report a
lost or stolen civil document. This information is immediately
available to banks, the Chilean International Police, and other
2. During this reporting period, post's Fraud Prevention Unit
(FPU) conducted 187 NIV investigations and uncovered 43 fraudulent
nonimmigrant visa cases (23% of investigations found fraudulent).
A majority of these cases involved routine fraud, such as
submission of altered bank statements or doctored employment and
property documents. Post suspects visa fixers were involved in
many of these cases, but there is no way to confirm these
suspicions. As in the past, post has not been able to obtain
cooperation from Chilean police authorities to investigate or
prosecute visa fixers.
3. The FPU continues to have excellent contacts with local banks,
and the Chilean tax service has been essential in verifying
suspicious documents. But our most instrumental contacts have been
the Administradora de Fondos de Pensiones (AFP), an employee
retirement fund that working Chileans are required by law to pay
into. Through our AFP contacts, the FPU is able to confirm an
applicant's employer, salary, and length of employment. These
contacts are important for our work because many applicants who
wish to defraud the visa application system do so by lying about
their employment and salary.
4. The DHS Arrival Departure Information System (ADIS) has been
fully integrated into all of the units. ADIS has been used
successfully by the NIV unit to uncover overstays, especially when
renewal applicants arrive with "lost" passports that would reflect
overstays. Post looks forward to its implementation in the NIV
application towards the end of 2010. Also, post is pleased that
its H/L visa fraud prevention proposal will be funded by CA/FPP.
Post looks forward to using the funds to access Dicom, Chile's most
powerful credit reporting agency. Post will use this tool to
verify the qualifications of our H and L visa applications.
5. The J1 Summer Work and Travel program is popular among many
Chilean college students. Post conducted a validation study of its
FY2008 and FY2009 Summer Work Travel (SWT) J1 visa program. The
results show a steady increase in issuance, but a slight decreased
in overstay rates. While FY08 saw an overstay rate of about 4.4%,
FY09 results show an overstay rate of 3%. For the FY08 SWT season
(December 2007-April 2008), Santiago issued 3.536 SWT J1 visas, 15%
more than the previous year. For the FY09 SWT season (December
2008-April 2009), Santiago issued 3.678 SWT J1 visas, an increase
of 4% over the previous year. Post is currently interviewing J1
SWT visa applicants for FY10. Although the season has just begun,
applicant numbers are significantly down compared to this time last
6. Post has recently been receiving H2B applicants applying to
work as temporary horse trainers. Post suspects that one law firm
in New York is charging these unwitting applicants unreasonably
high administrative fees. Post is working with Mexico City,
Monterey, and CA/FPP to investigate.
7. FPU reviews K1, K2, and CR1 visa applications; in total, the IV
Unit referred 104 cases to FPU. Two cases were found to be
fraudulent. One K1 case involved a petitioner and a beneficiary
who married weeks before the beneficiary was deported on
immigration charges. During the interview, the FPU contacted them
separately at the same time and discovered that their marriage was
a fraud. Another case involved a couple who changed their mind
after their interviews with the IV officer and FP Investigator.
The couple admitted many discrepancies in their story and the
evidence of relationship was found to be weak. The IV Unit has
also successfully incorporated ADIS information to confirm 9B1 and
9B2 ineligibilities. ADIS is also being used to confirm
eligibility for transportation letters for Legal Permanent
Residents (LPRs) who have been outside the U.S. less than one year.
8. No DV fraud was detected during the reporting period. DV
applications remain relatively low compared to neighboring
countries. Last year, only 15 applicants received a DV--and five
of these chose not to go through with the process.
ACS AND PASSPORT FRAUD
9. ACS is working with CA/FPP to investigate a possible case of
imposter fraud. PIERS records indicated that a U.S. passport had
been issued in the name of a passport applicant just a few months
prior to her application, presumably to an imposter in the U.S.
The ACS officer found strong indications that the U.S. citizen
mother, who abandoned the applicant when she was three-years-old in
Chile, may be a part of the fraud.
10. Post processed no adoption cases in this reporting period.
Foreign adoptions are rare in Chile. Along with CA/Children's
Issues, post is working with SENAME (the Chilean Central Authority)
to implement the Hague convention on adoption. But SENAME has not
cooperated with our many attempts to make the accreditation process
transparent for U.S. adoption agencies. This Chilean government
agency continues to place difficult bureaucratic barriers on the
adoption of children by foreigners. For example, in this reporting
cycle two U.S. adoption agencies applied for accreditation and were
denied by SENAME. However, post will continue to work with SENAME
to help U.S. adoption agencies become accredited in Chile.
11. No IV or ACS applicants have opted for DNA tests.
ASYLUM AND DHS BENEFIT FRAUD
12. No cases of fraud were identified during the reporting period.
ALIEN SMUGGLING, TRAFFICKING, ORGANIZED CRIMES, AND TERRORIST
13. No cases encountered.
DS CRIMINAL FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS
14. There were no cases of DS criminal fraud investigations during
the reporting period. FPU continues to have a good working
relationship with the RSO office.
HOST COUNTRY DOCUMENTATION
15. There were no cases of host country documentation fraud during
the reporting period.
COOPERATION WITH HOST GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES
16. The FPU continues to enjoy a high level of cooperation from
host government authorities on issues including immigration, tax,
and civil registration. However, as noted, it is difficult to get
the host government to prosecute perpetrators of visa fraud. It is
not a crime, under Chilean law, to provide a fraudulent document to
the U.S. Embassy in pursuit of a visa.
AREAS OF PARTICULAR CONCERN
17. Post greatly appreciates information from CA/FPP regarding
fraudulent U.S. visas being used to transit through Chile. Post
believes that a regional Southern Cone fraud conference would be an
effective way to alert neighboring Embassies and Consulates to
similar fraud trends that surpass borders. The conference would
also provide a venue to discuss potential mechanisms to improve
fraud prevention and ACS processes in the region.
STAFFING AND TRAINING
18. The FPU consists of the Visa Unit Chief and Fraud Prevention
Manager, Bill Whitaker; one Locally Engaged Staff fraud
investigator, Ilse Schacker; and one Vice Consul, John Choi,
currently serving a six-month rotation as the FPU Officer. The
Vice Consul also serves as the IV Chief, NIV officer, and back-up
19. The FPU Officer recently returned from the WHA FPU conference
in Miami. On his return, he gave an overview presentation of the
conference to the entire staff. The FPU Officer also took the
lessons learned from the conference, assessed post's fraud
prevention practices for their effectiveness, and reformed several
FPU procedures among the NIV staff. He also instituted a monthly
Sherlock Holmes prize given to the LES or officer who makes the
most significant fraud prevention contribution during the previous
month. As a result of both initiatives, many in the section have
showed a renewed interest in detecting fraud. Post has also
requested training by the DHS Carrier Liaison Program (CLP) to
provide training to our airline and immigration contacts.
20. The LES staff has been encouraged to take online courses that
focus on fraud detection. Their recent interest and participation
in these courses is a positive sign of post's efforts to combat
fraud. Finally, post will continue to nominate LES for FSI fraud
prevention training, as no LES from post has ever attended this