Cablegate: Fraud Summary - (Surabaya)
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHJS #0087/01 2740933
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010933Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0462
INFO RUEHPNH/NVC PORTSMOUTH 0009
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0451
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 0027
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0473
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 SURABAYA 000087
DEPARTMENT FOR CA/FPP AND CA/VO/KCC
DEPARTMENT FOR DS/EAP AND DS/ICI/CR
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRD CVIS CPAS CMGT ASEC ID
SUBJECT: FRAUD SUMMARY - (SURABAYA)
REF: A) 09 SURABAYA 025, B) 09 SURABAYA 009, C) 08 SURABAYA 0103
SURABAYA 00000087 001.2 OF 004
1. Please find below the semi-annual fraud report for U.S.
Consulate General Surabaya for the period March - August 2009.
A. Country Conditions
Indonesia is an archipelago of over 17,500 islands spanning
three time zones and 3,400 miles along the Equator. Its
population of 245 million comprises more than 300 ethnic groups
and six official religions. Inter-island economic migration is
common (especially to and from Java). Indonesia is a poor
country -- nearly half the population earns less than two
dollars a day -- but about 10% of the population is part of the
moneyed economy enjoying a middle class or higher standard of
living. Bribery and corruption are common.
Although the incidence of consular fraud in Surabaya was low
during this reporting period, consular fraud in Surabaya
generally ranges from medium to high, but is generally not very
sophisticated. Visa brokers and document vendors take advantage
of visa seekers' lack of familiarity with the visa process to
charge them exorbitant amounts for mediocre documents.
Consular Officers in Surabaya do not rely heavily on
documentation and focus more on visa interviews in evaluating
applicants' ability to overcome 214(b). When an applicant is
suspected of being the client of a document vendor, adjudicating
officers refer the cases to the Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU) for
further investigation. When fraud is confirmed and/or follow-up
investigative interviews are likely to yield additional
information, the Fraud Prevention Manager refers the case for a
secondary interview. Secondary investigative interviews
generally involve the Regional Security Officer (RSO), the Fraud
Prevention Manager, the Consular Fraud Prevention LES, and the
RSO LES Investigator. Referrals have led to arrests and/or
raids of document vendor operations.
B. NIV Fraud
During the past six months, the incidence of non-immigrant visa
fraud in Surabaya has declined significantly. Post only
recorded nine (9) cases of confirmed visa fraud during the
reporting period. No arrests occurred as a result of visa fraud
investigations in Surabaya, although two document vendors/alien
smugglers (and one client) associated with applicants who
applied at Embassy Jakarta were arrested in Surabaya's consular
district (in Bali and Ponorogo).
PPT - During the reporting period, no applicants applied using
new passports with new identities.
A3/G5 - Post only received one application for an A3 visa during
the reporting period.
B1/B2 - There were no arrests related to fraudulent B1/B2 visa
applications submitted in Surabaya during the reporting period.
While it is likely that some applicants who were refused visas
in accordance with Section 214(b) had fraudulent documents in
their possession at the time of their interviews, adjudicating
officers do not routinely ask applicants for unnecessary
documents unless fraud is suspected. In cases when fraud is
clearly suspected, however, adjudicating officers ask applicants
to submit all documents they brought to their interviews for
follow-up investigation in an effort to determine if a document
vendor supplied the documents.
In August, FPM and the Consular Fraud Prevention Assistant
visited the addresses of several B1/B2 visa applicants (both
prior refusals and issuances) from the cities of Kediri and
Malang in East Java. The visits provided additional credibility
in regard to the qualifications of two applicants who had
previously been refused and demonstrated misrepresentation on
the part of one applicant who had been issued multiple visas.
The latter has been entered into CLASS as a quasi refusal P6C1.
Post plans to conduct its annual B1/B2 validation study this
winter, covering issuances during the Dec 1, 2007, through May
31, 2008, time period (Ref C).
C1/D - As a result of Post's occasional investigation of C1/D
applicants' employment and training histories, three cases of
fraud were confirmed during the reporting period. In total, the
training and employment histories of 41 C1/D applicants were
investigated during the reporting period. Three applicants (7
percent) were determined to have provided either a fraudulent
training certificate or false employment history. In July, Post
visited the three crew recruitment agencies in Bali responsible
SURABAYA 00000087 002.2 OF 004
for most of Surabaya's C1/D applicants and discussed the
aforementioned applicants. Each of the recruiters is registered
with the Consulate and Embassy through the crew recruiter
registration program. The recruitment companies appear to have
quality operations and generally do a good job screening their
recruits. A new crew recruiter in Bali has requested to
register with the Consulate and Embassy. Post's Fraud
Prevention Manager plans to visit the company in mid-September.
H1B - Most H1B applicants who apply in Surabaya received their
university degrees in the United States. For H1B applicants who
do not have U.S. university educations, Post verifies their
education credentials. The same practice applies to applicants
for L visas. The incidence of H1B and L visa fraud in Surabaya
H2B - Surabaya began adjudicating H2B visas again on October 1,
2008, after they had been adjudicated only in Jakarta during the
2007 - 2008 time period. While post has experienced no
H2B-related fraud since resumption of H2B adjudication, we have
also received very few applications. Most of the recruiters who
planned to begin recruiting potential H2Bs were unable or
unwilling to meet the new DHS requirements regarding fees
charged to workers as a condition of employment. Post did
receive a few applications from applicants who had been charged
fees that are no longer allowed by regulation and, therefore,
requested a revocation of the petition.
In July, FPM visited a labor recruitment company in Malang. The
company plans to begin recruitment of H2B laborers for the U.S.
market within the next year. During our discussions with the
company director, he advised that both his firm and the U.S.
recruiter planned to charge the workers fees as a condition of
their employment. While his company planned to charge
approximately $500 per worker as a processing fee, the U.S.
recruiter reportedly planned to charge $2000 per worker.
Following FPM's explanation of the latest rules regarding
prohibited fees, the company has postponed plans to recruit
labor for the U.S. market until it can find a more suitable
U.S.-based recruitment partner and restructure its recruitment
scheme. Currently, the core of the company's business is
recruitment and training of domestic laborers for Hong Kong and
Taiwan. Note: Post utilizes the same registration program for
H2B agents that is used in Jakarta, similar to the registration
process for C1/D agents.
F1 - Among the least qualified applicants for F1 visas
interviewed at Post are those who are enrolled in short-term
English language programs in the United States, usually at stand
alone ESL schools that are not associated with universities or
community colleges. Students applying to participate in these
ESL programs tended to be less capable of demonstrating
sufficient finances and were often working age adults who had
poor employment histories and were unable to demonstrate ties to
Indonesia. In some such cases, the source of funds was from an
American friend or boyfriend in the United States.
J1 - Shortly after the H2B cap was reached, Post began to
receive a few J1 trainee visa applicants who planned to work in
jobs that would normally be filled by H2B workers. In one such
case, APEX USA had recruited seven applicants to join a J1
trainee program in the United States. Several of the applicants
had previously participated in J1 trainee programs arranged by
APEX. None of the applicants could explain what if any training
was provided during their previous trainee programs. All seven
applicants were refused due to the fact that they were not
qualified for J1 visas and the J1 trainee visas appeared only to
be an attempt to provide H2B labor. Following the refusal, the
applicants confirmed ConOff's suspicions and indicated that APEX
USA originally planned to send them to the U.S. to perform
exactly the same work on H2B visas, but the petitions were
denied due to the H2B cap, thus the effort to obtain J1 visas
for the seven applicants. Note: A validation study of APEX USA
recruited applicants who were issued J1 trainee visas calendar
year 2006 demonstrated a 33 percent non-return rate (Ref B).
Post FPM and Fraud Prevention Assistant visited a hotel in Bali
in July. The hotel is currently post's largest source of J1
trainee visa applicants. The hotel has a history of sending J1
trainees to its sister hotel in Miami for 12 month
hospitality-related trainee programs and has maintained a good
track record. We met with more than 25 returnees and confirmed
not only their return but also that many had received promotions
shortly after returning.
M1 - No new M1 fraud cases during the reporting period.
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R1 - No new R1 fraud cases during the reporting period.
C. IV fraud.
Surabaya does not adjudicate Immigrant Visas.
D. Diversity Visa (DV) fraud.
Surabaya does not adjudicate Diversity Visas, but has assisted
with occasional DV investigations and DV visa outreach efforts.
E. ACS and Passport Fraud.
Post did not identify any cases of ACS or passport fraud during
the reporting period, but did receive two applications for
reports of birth and passports in which the American citizen
parent was unable to demonstrate sufficient physical presence in
the United States to transmit citizenship.
F. Adoption fraud.
Surabaya does not process adoptions.
G. Use of DNA testing
There are no special circumstances with regards to DNA testing
in Indonesia and Post receives results in a timely manner. Post
requests DNA testing for American citizenship cases when
insufficient proof of parentage is provided.
H. Asylum/DHS benefit fraud.
No cases during reporting period.
I. Alien smuggling, trafficking, organized crime, terrorist
During a fraud prevention site visit to the cities of Kediri and
Malang in July 2009, we visited the office of a document vendor
who was arrested in Malang in January 2009. We were able to
confirm that his business is closed. The document vendor is
incarcerated and serving a two year sentence.
The Surabaya police arrested three document vendors and one
human trafficker in the past two months. The police shared the
biodata of those arrested, which we entered as CLASS lookouts.
Likewise, police in Kediri reported arresting two human
traffickers (internal trafficking) and one document vendor who
was involved in producing fraudulent business licenses, although
apparently bearing no relationship to visa applications.
Additionally, there were raids on document vendor / smuggler
establishments that led to arrests in both Bali and Ponorogo
(East Java) during the reporting period. Both cases were
related to fraudulent visa applicants who applied for visas at
Embassy Jakarta. One client of the document vendor arrested in
Ponorogo had applied for a visa in Surabaya some months in the
past and was refused 214(b). His name was found on the document
vendor's client list obtained by police.
J. DS criminal investigations.
The FPM and the RSO enjoy an excellent working relationship.
The Consular Section has employed a Standard Operating Procedure
for referral of suspected visa fraud cases to the Fraud
Prevention Unit and, when necessary, to the RSO for follow-up
investigation. The FPU leads Post's fraud prevention activities
up to the point of secondary investigative interviews and police
involvement, at which time the RSO takes the lead. Results of
investigations as well as police and court actions are always
shared and discussed.
During the past six months, the incidence of non-immigrant visa
fraud in Surabaya has declined significantly. During the
preceding twelve months, several visa fraud-related arrests were
well publicized in local newspapers and may be a factor in the
recent decline, as well as increased police efforts to take
action against document vendors.
K. Host country documents.
See Embassy Jakarta's latest Fraud Prevention Summary.
L. Host government authorities.
The Consulate has requested the assistance of local police on a
few occasions during the reporting period, receiving mixed
SURABAYA 00000087 004.2 OF 004
M. Areas of particular concern / general remarks.
There are no areas of particular concern during the reporting
N. Staffing and training.
Consular Chief/FPM - has attended the ConGen course; Fraud
Prevention for Consular Managers, Detecting Imposters; Detecting
Fraudulent Documents; and DHS Fraud Prevention Workshops.
LES Consular Fraud Prevention Assistant - has attended the Fraud
Prevention Course for LES (PC-542); a Customs and Border
Protection fraud prevention training session in Jakarta; and an
ICITAP course on the prevention of smuggling and human
trafficking in Jakarta.
Regional Security Officer (RSO) - Has not yet attended fraud
RSO LES Investigator - has attended an ICITAP course on the
prevention of smuggling and human trafficking in Jakarta.