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Utah law firm indicted for H-2B visa program fraud August 1, 2009

Posted by jefhenningeresq in News.
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James Hector Alcala, his law firm the Alcala law firm, seven current or former employees and a property management company have all been indicted for an alleged immigration fraud scheme.  Authorities allege that the firm lied on applications to help 10 companies in Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties get work visas for ineligible foreign workers. 

The H-2B visa program allows employers to petition for permits that allow foreign nationals to work temporarily in the United States. More than 700 petitions filed by the Salt Lake City firm led to the issuance of more than 5,000 work visas. The majority of those were fraudulent.

This is the type of case where the number of people arrested can increase exponentially if authorities find evidence that the companies working with the firm knew that the applications were fraudulent.  I’m sure at least some of the companies know, but proving it is another matter.  These other companies need attorneys right away to field inquiries from authorities. 

While it looks bad for Acala, I’m questioning the case against the other employees.  Authorities in these cases tend to believe that everyone is in on it.  However, most employees are “worker bees” that do what they are told without being told what is really going on.  With the benefit of the whole picture in front of them, authorities find it impossible to believe that everyone else wasn’t in on it.  I’ve seen this many times. 

Thus, attorneys for these other employees need to really look at the case from a number of angles to see if there is any real criminal exposure for their clients.  Law enforcement tends to exert a lot of pressure on attorneys in an effort to weaken their opinion of the case which in turn, will change the advice they give to their clients.  In these situations, attorneys need to counter this pressure and work to convince law enforcement that they have no case.  I’ve done this several times with great results.

Story is here.

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