DS Investigation Results In Conviction For False Statements On I-9 Employment Verification Forms
Josue Osmaro Garcia-Ochoa Found Guilty In U.S. District Court
As part of “Operation Concrete Heat,” special agents from the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service’s (DSS) Washington Field Office arrested Josue Osmaro Garcia-Ochoa on June 10, 2008, for making false statements regarding his legal status on I-9 forms. On January 28, 2009, Garcia-Ochoa was found guilty on four felony counts by a United States District Judge.
According the Virginia Beach Police Department, during routine traffic stops in 2006, various Mexican nationals presented Mexican passports as forms of identification. Some of the subjects stated to police that the passports they presented were fraudulent. Through investigative work, Diplomatic Security special agents determined that the Mexican passports were indeed valid. However, in the course of investigating the passports, special agents uncovered that some of the Mexican nationals in question had obtained their documents from Josue Osmaro Garcia-Ochoa. Garcia-Ochoa was running a business assisting Hispanics who wanted to obtain documents such as Virginia identification cards, international driver licenses, and Virginia license plates and registrations. Garcia-Ochoa and the Mexican nationals who presented the Mexican passports to the police were all employed in the concrete construction industry in the Tidewater area of Virginia. This led DS special agents to look further into whether Garcia-Ochoa was making false documents and whether those documents were being used by illegal aliens to unlawfully gain employment in the concrete construction industry in that area.
Upon further investigation, DS agents found that while applying for construction jobs in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake in 2006, Garcia-Ochoa had made false statements regarding his status on I-9 forms. He claimed to be a United States Citizen, and also said he was a Lawful Permanent Resident. Additionally, Garcia-Ochoa provided documentation that concealed his true immigration status as an alien in Temporary Protected Status. These false statements not only allowed Garcia-Ochoa to fraudulently obtain employment but also allowed him to obtain a U.S. Navy badge that granted him access to all regional naval bases.
The information on Garcia-Ochoa eventually led DS special agents to other suspects, all employed by construction companies, with questionable residency or work eligibility permits. Further investigation into those companies revealed that they employed at least five people who presented false resident alien cards to their employers. On May 28, 2008, during “Operation Concrete Heat,” DS agents, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Immigration Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the Virginia Beach Police Department, arrested four people for visa fraud and false statements. Shortly after, on June 10, 2008, DS agents arrested Garcia-Ochoa. On January 28, 2009, United States Senior District Judge Robert G. Doumar found Garcia-Ochoa guilty of four felony charges related to false statements on Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (1-9) and other false statements. He faces up to five years in prison on each count.
John Schilling, the Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service’s Washington Field Office said, “The apprehension of Josue Osmaro Garcia-Ochoa demonstrates Diplomatic Security’s commitment to investigate passport fraud and to work closely with local and other federal law enforcement agencies.”
Because the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service is the most widely represented law enforcement organization in the world, DSS’s capability to track and capture fugitives who have fled U.S. jurisdiction to avoid prosecution is unmatched. During 2007, DSS assisted in the resolution of 113 international fugitive cases from over 30 different countries.
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the U.S. Department of State’s law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of the Bureau are responsible for the security of 285 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel protect the U.S. Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conduct personnel security investigations. More information about the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security may be obtained at www.state.gov/m/ds.