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The Investigations Division

The Investigations Division investigates alleged violations of bribery, fraud, abuse, and integrity laws that govern the Department of Justice and the operations it finances.


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Investigations Division

Overview & Highlights

he Investigations Division investigates allegations of bribery, fraud, abuse, and alleged violations of other anticorruption statutes and rules that govern the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the operations it finances. The Division also develops cases for criminal prosecution or civil and/or administrative action. In some instances, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) refers allegations to components within DOJ and requests notification of their findings and of any disciplinary action taken.

During the reporting period, the OIG made 64 arrests, including 23 DOJ employees, 38 civilians, and 3 DOJ contract personnel. During the same 6-month reporting period 47 individuals were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 2 months to 7 1/2 years. Seizures totaled $309,348, the second largest amount seized since the OIG was established. By the end of the reporting period, a total of 32 DOJ employees and 5 contractors received disciplinary action as a result of OIG investigations, ranging from a letter of caution to dismissal.



Civil Rights

OIG special agents play key roles in law enforcement along United States borders, one of which involves the effective handling of allegations that Border Patrol agents, immigration inspectors, and others employed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) have violated the civil rights of citizens or aliens.

The OIG has three primary responsibilities in handling allegations of border civil rights violations: receiving complaints, conducting criminal and noncriminal investigations of some complaints, and tracking the disposition of all complaints among the five DOJ components that have responsibility for their outcome.

Receipt and Review of Civil Rights Allegations

The OIG receives from INS managers allegations of civil rights abuses made against INS personnel along the Southwest Border. Victims, witnesses, and others with information about alleged civil rights abuses also report them directly to the OIG, INS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department's Civil Rights Division (CRT), or U.S. Attorneys' Offices (USAO). The CRT reviews all allegations to determine which complaints should be investigated as criminal civil rights violations.

The OIG has conducted extensive outreach efforts along the Southwest Border to encourage victims of civil rights violations to report complaints. Posters in Spanish have been placed inside INS facilities and postage-paid forms in Spanish have been distributed.

Four OIG field offices — El Paso, McAllen, Tucson, and San Diego — are located near the Southwest Border where there is the largest concentration of  INS employees and the largest number of civil rights complaints. All of these OIG offices are staffed with bilingual special agents.

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The following chart summarizes all new allegations of civil rights abuse by INS employees during the 6-month reporting period ending March 31, 1996.


Criminal Investigation of Civil Rights Allegations

In the Southern District of California, where the largest number of alleged civil rights violations are reported, most cases are worked by a joint OIG and FBI Task Force operated out of San Diego. The joint task force approach is expected to be extended to other areas along the Southwest Border later this year as part of the Department's Southwest Border initiative.

The first two civil rights investigations below are updates of cases originally reported in our March 1995 Semiannual Report to Congress, and the third case is being reported for the first time.

·  A joint OIG Tucson Field Office and Nogales Arizona Police Department investigation determined that a Border Patrol agent apprehended two alien females in September 1993 and raped one of them. On January 5, 1996, the agent pled guilty to Federal civil rights violations and was sentenced to 12 months' incarceration and 36 months' supervised probation.

·  In the Southern District of California in San Diego, an INS immigration inspector, a "special cases officer" who used his position to extort sexual favors and sexually abuse female aliens, pled guilty on January 5, 1996, the day his trial was to begin, to deprivation of rights under color of law and bribery. Sentencing is scheduled for June 1996.

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·  On March 28, 1996, a Federal jury found an INS detention enforcement officer guilty of violating an alien's civil rights. The investigation by the Los Angeles Field Office disclosed that a detained alien was assaulted on two separate occasions by the INS officer. The case was prosecuted by the CRT and the USAO for the Central District of California.




Tracking of Allegations

The process of handling allegations of civil rights abuses by INS employees involves INS, CRT, FBI, USAOs, and the OIG. A new tracking process designed to ensure that all complaints are processed and that all offices work together to resolve these matters promptly was instituted in July 1995.

A civil rights report listing the credible, serious civil rights allegations made against INS employees and the actions taken by the components is compiled each month by the OIG and distributed to the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, INS, FBI, CRT, and the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.

The chart below summarizes civil rights investigations and prosecutions of INS employees tracked by the OIG during the reporting period.


Witness Security Program

The Investigations Division joined with the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), Witness Security Division (WITSEC), to inspect certain WITSEC Program field offices as a result of recent arrests and convictions of USMS WITSEC inspectors. These inspectors embezzled over $350,000 of Government funds because of vulnerabilities in the WITSEC program. OIG agents briefed the WITSEC review staff on methods used by corrupt inspectors to embezzle funds and provided information that has helped USMS determine the presence of fraud indicators in expense documentation. These joint reviews led to the strengthening of internal controls and voucher payment procedures in the WITSEC program.

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Southwest Border

The investigation of official corruption along the Southwest Border is a high priority for the Department and the OIG. Tucson, El Paso, McAllen, and San Diego field offices participate or will soon participate in U.S. Customs Service/FBI Border Corruption Task Forces. The OIG's knowledge of INS and experience in investigating INS document fraud, alien smuggling, and drug trafficking cases involving corrupt DOJ officials will contribute to the success of these task forces. ?

Mexican newspaper calls the border "Hot" due to corruption and alien and drug smuggling.

In addition, the Department's civil rights task force approach, which began in San Diego and has been previously described, is expected to expand across the Southwest Border. The OIG's San Diego Field Office conducts preliminary investigations of all civil rights allegations received and conducts joint investigations with the FBI of cases accepted by CRT for investigation.

Community Outreach

The Investigations Division continues its community outreach program to inform citizens and immigrants about how to report allegations of DOJ employee misconduct. Local civil rights organizations and others have asked the OIG to better inform local Spanish-speaking residents of its existence, mission, and authority. In response, the OIG Tucson Field Office staff have appeared on three Spanish radio talk shows and one Spanish television show and have taped a Spanish public service announcement about the OIG. In November 1995, representatives of the OIG's Tucson Field Office met with Louis Valdez, Mayor of Nogales, Arizona, to discuss procedures for reporting allegations of misconduct by DOJ personnel. At the suggestion of Mayor Valdez, OIG representatives also traveled to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and met with Mayor Abraham Zaied to discuss similar issues.

Significant Investigations


·  Our last Semiannual Report to Congress described Operation WALL WORKER, a joint investigation with the FBI, Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and the Postal Inspection Service in the Northern District of Georgia targeting drug smuggling into the Atlanta Penitentiary. A BOP correctional officer had been arrested on charges of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. During this reporting period, seven additional arrests were made — three correctional officers, one medical technician on contract, one civilian, and two inmates. Four have pled guilty, and one was found guilty at trial. Prosecution continues on the other three defendants.

The two investigations described below are updates of cases originally included in our March 1995 Semiannual Report to Congress.

·  In a joint OIG and U.S. Customs Service investigation in Arizona, a drug trafficker offered an INS immigration inspector a $20,000 bribe to allow a cocaine-laden vehicle to pass through the Port of Entry. The drug trafficker pled guilty and was sentenced to three months in prison and three months' probation.

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Significant Investigations

·  Operation WOLFPACK — a 3-year investigation by the OIG, the FBI, the U.S. Customs Service, and Internal Revenue Service — focused on inspectors who allowed vehicles carrying cocaine valued at $78 million to pass through their inspection lanes at a Port of Entry in Southern California. During this reporting period, a Federal jury convicted four of the defendants on drug trafficking charges, including the INS immigration inspector. Sentencing is scheduled for April 1996. The U.S. Customs Service inspector was acquitted on three counts, and the jury was hung on two. He is being retried; three additional conspirators are currently being sought for prosecution. In addition, five residences and $100,000 in cash were seized.

The following investigations are being reported for the first time.

·  Based on information provided by INS, the OIG initiated an investigation of three related drug trafficking organizations interested in identifying a corrupt U.S. immigration official to provide them with immigration documents and to facilitate the entry of hundred-kilo loads of cocaine into the U.S. The OIG informed DEA, and as a result Operations MOTORCROSS and BROKEN BORDER were initiated as Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force cases in the Central and Southern Districts of California. An OIG agent posed as a corrupt supervisory immigration inspector and was paid $32,400 in bribes for the issuance of four INS documents. Concurrently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) allowed controlled deliveries of cocaine to the drug traffickers; the drugs were later seized. Four drug traffickers, who paid bribes to the undercover OIG agent, were arrested by agents of the OIG San Diego Field Office on charges of bribery of a public official. In addition, DEA arrested six other drug traffickers and seized $3.7 million. Judicial proceedings continue.

·  In the District of Arizona, a BOP contract employee was arrested on charges of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance in a Federal Correctional Institution. The OIG investigation disclosed that the contract employee obtained the drug from an inmate's mother. He delivered it to the inmate who kept a portion and provided the rest to a fellow inmate. The contract employee and the two inmates pled guilty, and the mother is a fugitive. The employee was sentenced to one year parole and fined $1000, while the inmates received an additional eight and six months' incarceration, respectively.

·  In the Eastern District of Michigan, a BOP correctional officer pled guilty to charges of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. In this Chicago Field Office investigation, it was disclosed that the officer smuggled steroids into the prison for inmates. At his arrest, a total of 400 ampules of anabolic steroids and 100 hypodermic syringes were found in his possession. Sentencing is scheduled for May 30, 1996.

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Significant Investigations


·  Our last Semiannual Report to Congress described a case in which an INS supervisory cashier clerk and a middleman were indicted on charges of bribery, document, and/or bank fraud. During this reporting period, a second middleman was identified and indicted on California state charges of bank fraud. He printed counterfeit payroll checks that were cashed using INS documents as identification. During this reporting period, the INS clerk pled guilty and was sentenced to six months' home confinement and five years' probation. The middleman was sentenced to 12 months' incarceration and 3 years' probation and ordered to repay 3 financial institutions $5,227. The counterfeiter awaits sentencing.

·  In the Eastern District of New York, five INS employees and a document vendor were arrested on charges of bribery and conspiracy. An undercover investigation by the New York Field Office disclosed that, over a 4-year period, five INS clerks illegally issued thousands of employment authorization cards and other benefits to illegal aliens. The clerks, all from one INS district office, conspired with document vendors who paid them bribes ranging from $300 to $1,000 per card. The clerks also provided the document vendors with sensitive INS computer printouts. When arrested, over $164,000 in cash was seized from the document vendor. Serious internal control deficiencies were also identified and corrected by INS management. Prosecution is



·  In the District of New Jersey, an INS special agent, an INS clerk, and three civilian document vendors were arrested on charges of bribery. In exchange for $4,000, the agent sold a template used to prevent forgeries of Resident Alien and Border Crosser Cards. He also provided sensitive law enforcement information to unauthorized individuals. The clerk, married to a guard in an INS office who steered alien "clients" to her, illegally provided INS alien numbers to the vendors in exchange for bribes. The agent pled guilty and is scheduled for sentencing on June 22, 1996. The clerk and two of the document vendors pled guilty, and the third awaits trial.

·  In the District of Guam, a night club owner and her sister were arrested for conspiracy and bribery of a public official. An INS special agent was approached by the night club owner and offered a bribe in exchange for a Green Card for her sister. The agent cooperated in a joint OIG and INS undercover investigation and, at meetings with the sisters, received a total of $18,000 in bribes for a Green Card. The club owner pled guilty and awaits sentencing. Her sister, a Korean national, also pled guilty, was sentenced to time served, and was deported to Korea.

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Significant Investigations

·  In the Eastern District of Wisconsin, a security counselor at a BOP contract halfway house pled guilty to charges of bribery and possession of a controlled substance. The counselor accepted a $2,500 bribe from a cooperating inmate and allowed the inmate to leave the facility. At the time of his arrest, the counselor had marijuana in his possession. The counselor was sentenced to 5 months' incarceration, 5 months' electronic monitoring upon release, 50 hours' community service, and 3 years' probation and was ordered to pay a $500 fine.


·  In the Eastern District of New York, a BOP correctional officer was arrested on charges of attempted possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The New York Police Department's (NYPD) Office of Internal Affairs assisted in this investigation. The officer offered to perform armed robberies of drug stash-houses for an inmate, who cooperated with the OIG. A series of meetings between an undercover NYPD officer and the BOP employee resulted in the correctional officer being videotaped breaking into an apartment and stealing $5,000 in cash and three kilograms of sham heroin. He pled guilty and awaits sentencing.



·  In the Eastern District of California, an INS Border Patrol agent was arrested on charges of converting property under color of law and false statements. This San Francisco Field Office investigation found that the agent used his position to gain possession of a 9mm pistol after arresting an alien and finding a receipt for the gun in the alien's possession. The agent kept the weapon and converted it to his personal possession. When confronted by his supervisors, he turned the gun in, but falsified paperwork to conceal how it was seized and where it had been since seizure. He was suspended by INS and awaits trial.

·  In the District of Hawaii, USMS reported that a deputy U.S. marshal assigned to the WITSEC Program may have embezzled funds allocated to the program. The San Diego Field Office's investigation revealed that the deputy converted to his own use $51,000 of WITSEC Program funds. He submitted false receipts and copies of cashier's checks to account for expenditures he claimed were made on behalf of protected witnesses in the Program. The deputy marshal was arrested and pled guilty to mail fraud and embezzlement and agreed to make restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for May 20, 1996.

Honolulu Star Bulletin December 15, 1995


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Significant Investigations


·  Our September 1994 Semiannual Report to Congress described a case in which a former deputy U.S. marshal was arrested for defrauding the government by collecting over $300,000 in benefits under the Federal Employee Compensation Act while he operated a travel business to the Upper Amazon in Peru. During this reporting period, the former deputy was convicted in Federal court in the Southern District of Florida of fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for June 4, 1996. The Office of Workers' Compensation Program (OWCP) seeks to recover over $200,000 in overpayments to the deputy. The fraud conviction will also prohibit the former deputy from receiving future OWCP disability payments.

·  In the District of Columbia, a former secretary and time and attendance clerk in the Justice Management Division's Asset Forfeiture Management Staff pled guilty to charges of theft of government property. The investigation disclosed that the clerk paid herself over $7,000 in unauthorized overtime over a 7-month period in 1994. During the course of the investigation, the clerk made counterallegations that a senior DOJ official had sexually assaulted and harassed her. Her allegations proved false. Sentencing is scheduled for June 7, 1996.


·  In late 1995, two separate complaints alleged that a BOP regional director maintained an intimate relationship with a subordinate female employee and lived with a subordinate male employee. A joint investigation by the OIG and BOP disclosed that the regional director had an intimate relationship with two female subordinates and that he furnished these subordinates with expensive gifts including vacations, a car, a pool deck, and jewelry. The male subordinate resided rent free in his home in exchange for performing household maintenance. Additional administrative infractions were also discovered. Subsequent to this investigation, the regional director requested and was granted a demotion and a transfer.

·  An INS Border Patrol agent had been the subject of nine separate allegations of misconduct since entering on duty. Because of a pattern of misconduct, and a recent allegation charging the agent with sexual harassment, a joint El Paso Field Office and INS investigation was initiated. An employee of a fast-food restaurant claimed the Border Patrol agent was harassing her and making sexually suggestive comments. She claimed the offensive behavior began when she was a junior in high school. The allegation was substantiated and led to the Border Patrol agent's termination by INS.

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Significant Investigations

Alien Smuggling

·  Our March 1995 Semiannual Report to Congress described a case in which an INS immigration inspector assigned to John F. Kennedy International Airport pled guilty to smuggling aliens into the United States. On November 17, 1995, in the Eastern District of New York, the immigration inspector was sentenced to 12 months in prison and 3 years' probation. In addition, a baggage handler at the airport who bribed the inspector in return for allowing the illegal aliens to enter the country was arrested and pled guilty. On October 20, 1995, the baggage handler was sentenced to three months in prison and three years' probation.

Unauthorized Disclosure

·  In the Western District of Texas, a secretary in the U.S. Attorney's Office disclosed to her daughter information from an affidavit in support of an unexecuted search warrant. The daughter then revealed the contents to two targets of   a DEA undercover investigation, compromising the DEA investigation and endangering an undercover agent. When confronted, the secretary and her daughter admitted their involvement. The secretary was sentenced to 5 years' probation and 100 hours of community service and fined $5,000. The daughter was sentenced to 12 months' incarceration.

Investigations Statistics


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Investigations Statistics

1 This count includes preliminaries reclassified to investigations.

2 This count includes complaints reclassified to referrals.

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Investigations Statistics

3 Many of these investigations have been in the prosecutorial arena for more than one reporting period.