president of the Northern Mariana Islands Manpower Agency sentenced for visa fraud | USAO-GU
Saipan, MP – SHAWN N. ANDERSON, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands, announced that Defendant ALEJANDRO TUMANDAO NARIO, 65, a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines and lawful permanent resident in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), was sentenced by the United States District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands to 21 months imprisonment for visa fraud and abuse (visa fraud), in violation of 18 USC § 1546. The court also ordered three years of supervised release, a fine of $7,000.00, and a special assessment fee of $100.00.
Alejandro T. Nario is owner, president and director of A&A Enterprises, CNMI LLC, a CNMI workforce agency business. Since its incorporation in January 2019, A&A Enterprises has facilitated an illegal scheme to acquire CW-1 nonimmigrant visas allowing foreign citizens to enter and remain in the CNMI.
Nario and his staff have submitted petitions to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for at least 99 known foreign citizens. The petitions included work contracts, specifying the conditions, hours and wages to be paid. A&A Enterprises had no intention of employing these foreign citizens. The program was just a mechanism to get them temporary immigration status. After paying $1,500.00 to $2,000.00 to A&A Enterprises for their CW-1 visas, once in the CNMI, these foreign workers would get undocumented jobs such as in construction, grounds maintenance and housekeeping, and then pay A&A Enterprises a fee of $194.00 every two weeks to maintain their status.
The CW-1 visa program requires companies applying for foreign workers to prove that there is a demand for certain jobs and that those jobs, for whatever reason, cannot be filled by available U.S. citizens. The applicant company must also pay the application fees and the travel expenses of the foreign workers. But in this case, the foreign workers were required to pay these expenses and acquire their own employment, while A&A Enterprises profited.
At the same hearing, a second defendant, ROSALEE BANGOT ABEJO, 47, a national of the Republic of the Philippines residing at the CNMI, was sentenced to six months house arrest and 36 months probation for conspiracy to defraud. the United States, in violation of 18 USC § 371. The Court also ordered 72 months of supervised release, 50 hours of community service and a special assessment fee of $100.00.
During its investigation of A&A Enterprises, Homeland Security Investigations discovered that Abejo was assisting the company by providing documents and other templates included in fraudulent A&A Enterprises visa applications. Abejo also relied on A&A Enterprises staff to electronically alter documents, which Abejo used to fraudulently submit CW-1 and CW-2 petitions for two friends and her own husband.
“The CW-1 program continues to be abused by some CNMI employers,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson. “The public and workers deserve a visa system free from fraud and waste. We will prosecute this unlawful conduct to hold employers accountable and promote fairness among those seeking employment at the CNMI.
“These business owners have defrauded many people who thought they were coming to CNMI for legitimate jobs,” said Honolulu Homeland Security Special Agent for Investigations John F. Tobon. “HSI will continue to vigorously investigate these crimes to protect the integrity of our immigration system and those who fall victim to these scammers.”
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by Albert S. Flores Jr., Assistant United States District Attorney for the Northern Mariana Islands.