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Filipina in California convicted of mail fraud, immigration scam

SAN JOSE, California—A 66-year-old Filipina “immigration consultant” was convicted of mail fraud and running a multimillion-dollar scheme that victimized Filipinos who hoped to get permanent residency but really had no chance of getting it.

A federal jury on Tuesday, July 30, convicted Evelyn Sineneng-Smith of three counts of encouraging or inducing illegal immigration for private financial gain and three counts of mail, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag.

The guilty verdict followed a 13-day jury trial before US District Court Judge Ronald M. Whyte.

Evidence at trial showed that Sineneng-Smith operated an immigration consultation business in San Jose, California, from 1990 to 2008. She advised foreign nationals, mainly Filipino citizens who came to the United States on visitors’ visas, to apply for a labor certification from the United States Department of Labor as path towards obtaining lawful permanent residence.

She charged her victims $5,900 to file such applications all the while knowing that the law had changed, and that her clients did not qualify under existing immigration regulations to obtain lawful permanent residence.

According to the testimony of several victims, Sineneng-Smith failed to inform them that they were ineligible to obtain permanent residence. In addition, Sineneng-Smith encouraged victims to overstay the time allowed under their tourist visas and work illegally in residential healthcare facilities.

Evidence at trial showed that Sineneng-Smith deposited over $3.3 million dollars in payments from clients from August 2004 through 2007.

“Those who corrupt the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system must understand there are serious consequences for those actions,” said Joseph Vincent, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations, San Jose. “We will continue to work with our counterparts to investigate those who manipulate and exploit that system for their own personal financial gain.”

Sineneng-Smith was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 14, 2010. She was charged with three counts of encouraging and inducing illegal immigration for private financial gain and three counts of mail fraud.

She will be sentenced on November 4, after the court considers post-trial motions. The maximum penalty for each count of encouraging and inducing illegal immigration for private financial gain is 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. She also faces 20 years for each count of mail fraud and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution.

Assistant US Attorneys Susan Knight and Philip Guentert prosecuted the case with the assistance of Tracey Andersen and Nina Burney, after a three-year investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the United States Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.


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  • Evelyn Sineneng-Smith

    How can these Filipino Illegal Aliens be Encouraged & Induced to Reside in the United States when they have been residing in the US way before they even met me???

    by Evelyn Sineneng-Smith

    On July 30, 2013, I was found guilty of inducing and encouraging 3 (THREE) Filipino illegal aliens, Oliver Galupo, Amelia Guillermo and Hermansita Esteban, to reside in the United States. Oliver Galupo was already residing and working in a care home when he came to our office in 2006 and did not even show up at the trial. It is now 2013.

    Amelia Guillermo already obtained her Labor Certification and an approved 1-140 Petition by her employer, and has been residing in the United States since 2002. It is now 2013.

    Hermansita Esteban likewise already obtained her Labor Certification and has a pending 1-140 Petition by her employer, and has been residing in the United States since 2002. It is now 2013.

    Amelia Guillermo & Hermansita Esteban testified that but for me, they would have returned back to the Philippines when they have been working and residing here before even meeting me! They have been working under-the-table to the detriment of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S. I made their identities known to the Federal Government.

    So how can I induce and encourage them to stay in the United States! They themselves made that decision way before they even met me.

  • Evelyn Sineneng-Smith

    NO scam, NO fraud, NO encouraging & inducing these illegal aliens to stay in the US.
    They were already here living and working under the table way before they met me. I surfaced them to the Federal government for the benefit of all Americans and lawful permanent residents.

  • Evelyn Sineneng-Smith

    NO scam, NO fraud, NO encouraging & NO inducing these illegal aliens to stay in the US.

    They were already here living and working under the table way before they met me.

    • BIGButo

      Enjoy your prison stay



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