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Federal prosecutors in Virginia yesterday charged 26 persons in a nationwide investigation of the fraudulent issuance of green cards, driver’s licenses, passports, Social Security cards and other identification papers to thousands of Indonesian immigrants now living illegally throughout the United States.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty said the fraudulent documents allowed the immigrants for a substantial fee to obtain a wide variety of government benefits, including asylum.
Mr. McNulty said the charges resulted from a two-year investigation into the illegal practices of Indonesian immigration brokers and consultants operating in Northern Virginia and Maryland. He identified them as the Chinese Indonesian American Society in Fairfax Station, the Asian American Placement Services in Springfield, the Kumala Nusantara in Burke, and the Chinese Indonesian Pribumi Community Service in Manassas.
An affidavit in the case said the owners, employees and associates of the brokerages “knowingly defrauded the federal government and the Commonwealth of Virginia” from 1999 through this year, aiding thousands of Indonesian immigrants throughout the United States to fraudulently apply for government benefits.
The affidavit said several of those charged routinely prepared fraudulent asylum applications for Indonesian clients in return for a fee of $2,000, and that the applications typically contained false claims that those applying had been raped, sexually assaulted, beaten or robbed by Muslims in Indonesia because of their Chinese ethnicity or adherence to Christianity.
Mr. McNulty said many of the applications were supported by counterfeit Indonesian documents, including birth and baptismal certificates and police reports.
He said investigators found that some of those involved coached their clients to exploit the perceived sympathies of asylum officers and immigration judges assigned to consider the applications.
“The defendants counseled married immigrants to feature the wife as the lead applicant because the defendants believed asylum officers and immigration judges were more sympathetic to women and less likely to question them aggressively,” he said. “Applicants were told to cry, plead and avoid positive references to Indonesia.”
Mr. McNulty also said several of those charged routinely aided Indonesian clients to fraudulently obtain Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles driver’s licenses, learner’s permits and identification cards. He said the DMV found fraudulently prepared residency certifications for nearly 1,900 Indonesian immigrants.
He also said fraudulent applications were prepared for labor certification on behalf of Indonesian immigrants seeking to remain in the United States, claiming that those involved intended to hire the immigrants for jobs no U.S. workers were willing or qualified to fill.
Had the applications been approved, he said, the immigrants would have been issued a green card and allowed to work and remain in the United States legally.
“Much of the information in the applications was false, including the existence of the job, the qualifications of the immigrant, and the immigrant’s intended U.S. address,” Mr. McNulty said.
A task force of investigators was involved in the case, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Fairfax County Police Department, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, the Labor Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Secret Service and the FBI.
Those charged are: Hans Gouw, 53; Isnayanti Gouw, 35; Jenny Gandasaputra, 51; Herman Tanudjaja, 59; Raymond Marschall, 26; Megawaty Gandasaputra, 46; Michael Wright, 43; Joandi Gani, 19; and Danny Susanto, 34, all of Fairfax. Also Johnson Aliffin, 33, of Springfield; Ratna Hartanto, 38, of Alexandria; Rosita Setyawati, 46, of Philadelphia; Brigitta Parera, 35, of Vienna, Va.; and Willy Irsan, 33, Achnita Supomo, 37 and Surya Halim, 33, of Centreville, Va.
Others charged are: Lestari Nugroho, 27, of Portland, Ore.; Hanny Kembuan, 46, of Glendale, Calif.; Herlina Suherman, 28, of East Lansing, Mich.; Albert Warong, 75, and Sari Tanudjaya, 48, of Gaithersburg; Nany Kumala, 49, of Burke; Johannis Ticoalu, 57, of Alexandria; Silvy Karageorge, 47, of Manassas,; and Irawan Muljadi, 55, and Henry Lee, 29, whose addresses are unknown.
(Posted on November 23, 2004)