Larry Lebowitz, herald.com (Miami), Mar. 10
A U.S. immigration employee and a Chilean accomplice pleaded guilty Tuesday to selling at least 110 phony work permits to other illegal immigrants.
Isidro Guerrero Fernandez, 32, and his twice-deported street recruiter, Miguel Raggio, 50, generated more than $1 million from the scheme, according to investigators with the Department of Homeland Security inspector general.
Guerrero, who was studying to become a Homeland Security special agent at the time of his arrest, is looking at five to seven years in prison based on the plea terms and sentencing guidelines.
Raggio, who was deported as recently as 2000 for illegally entering the United States, is looking at four years in prison. U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan set sentencing for June 11.
Prosecutor Marie Villafaña said Raggio and a third defendant would recruit illegal immigrants who needed work papers to stay in the country and obtain jobs.
Raggio would pick up the bribes, ranging from $5,500 to $6,500, at a fast-food restaurant across from the Immigration and Naturalization Service building. Guerrero would take the clients to the front of the line and produce their photo IDs.
Most of the false papers were sold to illegal immigrants from Argentina, the Middle East and Africa, said Homeland Security agents Brian Dennison and Jennifer Duey.
Guerrero and Raggio forfeited cars, cash and luxury goods.
Remaining defendant Vivian Ciarrochi is scheduled to start trial on April 4 — even though she confessed to agents and wore a wire to help them make a case against Raggio.