229319: India Biannual Fraud Update
The state of Andhra Pradesh, and in particular its capital of Hyderabad, has been identified as a large center of documentary fraud which affects all India posts.
229319 10/13/2009 1:10 09CHENNAI306 Consulate Chennai UNCLASSIFIED 07CHENNAI695 | 07CHENNAI704 | 07STATE171211 | 08CHENNAI212 | 08CHENNAI372 | 08MUMBAI17 | 08MUMBAI367 | 08NEWDELHI2915 | 09CHENNAI13 | 09CHENNAI157 | 09CHENNAI158 | 09CHENNAI173 | 09CHENNAI174 | 09CHENNAI9 | 09CHENNAI91 | 09KOLKATA73 | 09MUMBAI117 | 09MUMBAI22 | 09MUMBAI293 | 09NEWDELHI10 | 09NEWDELHI12 | 09NEWDELHI1299 | 09NEWDELHI1364 | 09NEWDELHI1429 | 09NEWDELHI4 | 09NEWDELHI638 "VZCZCXRO8027PP RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDE RUEHMT RUEHNEH RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRS RUEHTMRUEHVCDE RUEHCG #0306/01 2860110ZNR UUUUU ZZHP 130110Z OCT 09FM AMCONSUL CHENNAITO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2484INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 3867RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 5409RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 1133RUEHNEH/AMCONSUL HYDERABADRUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 0295RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR 0241RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 2530RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 2062RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1150RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 0237RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 1449RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 0631RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 1076RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0222RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0166RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 0168RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0229RUEHVC/AMCONSUL VANCOUVER 0116RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO 0218RUEHMT/AMCONSUL MONTREAL 0246RUEHTM/AMCONSUL TIJUANA 0089RUEHRS/AMCONSUL MATAMOROS 0068RUEHNL/AMCONSUL NUEVO LAREDO 0063RUEHNG/AMCONSUL NOGALES 0051RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY 0937RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0155RUEHFT/AMCONSUL FRANKFURT 0366RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0001RUEHPNH/NVC PORTSMOUTH NH 0423" "UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 17 CHENNAI 000306
CA/FPP FOR JILL NYSTROM DS/CR/CFI FOR GALEN NACE DS/CR/VPAU FOR TIM LONGANACRE AND YVETTE COLMAN Pass to DHS
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KFRD, CVIS, CPAS, CMGT, ASEC, IN
SUBJECT: India Biannual Fraud Update
REF: A) 07 State 171211, B) 08 New Delhi 2915, C) New Delhi 1364, D) Mumbai 293, E) 08 Mumbai 17, F) 07 Chennai 695, G) 08 Chennai 372, H) 08 Chennai 212, I) 07 Chennai 704, J) 08 Mumbai 367, K) 08 Kolkata 73, L) Chennai 157, M) Mumbai 117, N) Chennai 173, O) Mumbai 293, P) New Delhi 1299, Q) Chennai 91, R) Chennai 13, S) New Delhi 175, T) Chennai 158, U) New Delhi 638, V) Chennai 174, W) Mumbai 151, X) New Delhi 1429
--------------- A. COUNTRY CONDITIONS ---------------
1. India-wide consular operations are among the busiest in the world. In FY-2008, Mission India processed more than 756,000 non-immigrant visa applications and 27,000 immigrant visa applications. While the majority of applicants from India are bona fide travelers and migrants, the volume of fraudulent applications is still significant. Some states, such as Gujarat and Punjab, are traditional sources of migration out of India and fraudulent applications from these areas are more common than from other regions of India. The state of Andhra Pradesh, and in particular its capital of Hyderabad, has been identified as a large center of documentary fraud which affects all India posts.
2. The world economic crisis affected the travel environment in India in FY-2008 and FY-2009. The domestic civilian aviation industry struggled to manage costs amidst slower traffic and rapid expansion, with even the traditionally most successful airlines looking for alliances and partnerships. Discretionary travel - including international travel -- was off and affected Mission India NIV demand. Economic observers in India predict that the global slowdown will reduce India's GDP growth from about 9.0 percent to around 6.5 percent this fiscal year and 5.5-6 percent next fiscal year (starting April 1). While U.S., Indian, and multinational businesses with strong ties to the U.S. economy have slowed down their expansion plans, they are continuing to hire - albeit at a slower pace.
3. Despite this difficult economic climate, demand for visa appointments from the intending immigrant population in northern India has remained strong. An opinion poll published in the popular Times of India in January 2007 noted that 37 percent of the 1.1 billion Indians would emigrate if they had the chance. Many Indians have tried to migrate using non-immigrant visas, and a greater number of Indian nationals apply for employment-based H and L visas than any other nationality worldwide. Mission India processes more H and L visas than any other country in the world, more than 30 percent of the world total in FY-2008. Although H and L visa applications were down slightly in FY-2009 due to the worldwide economic environment, Mission India still processed 120,320 H and L visa applications in the first three quarters of FY-2009, including 60,725 in Chennai alone. Mission India processed 192,332 H and L visa adjudications in FY-2008 and 190,087 in FY-2007. Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi have been the three busiest H-1B visa processing posts in the world for the past five fiscal years, and we project that India posts will comprise the top four in the world now that the new Consulate General in Hyderabad is adjudicating visas.
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4. In FY-2009, the non-immigrant visa classes most often targeted for fraud were B1/B2 business travelers/tourists, H-1B temporary workers, F1 student visas, and P3 culturally unique artists. Since the implementation of the new petition requirement for R-1 religious workers, Mission India has seen very few fraudulent R-1 cases. The most commonly targeted immigrant visa classes were IR-1s and CR 1s in Delhi and F-2B and F-2A visas in Mumbai and Chennai. During the six month period from March through August 2009, Mission India's consular sections identified a total of 3,596 cases of suspected visa fraud (Chennai - 1,237, New Delhi - 949, Mumbai - 809, Hyderabad - 523, Kolkata - 78).
5. Most of India's fraudulent applicants come from specific and easily defined regional areas within each consular district. These states have some of the most mobile populations in India and the largest concentrations of expatriate communities overseas, including in the United States. In New Delhi, cases originating from the Punjab comprise the majority of its IV and fraud caseloads, while the same can be said in Mumbai with Gujarat. Chennai and Hyderabad's fraud workload comes principally from Andhra Pradesh.
--------------- B. NON-IMMIGRANT VISA FRAUD ---------------
6. Fraudulent NIV applications make up a small portion of the total NIV cases but constitute the vast majority of cases referred to FPU. During the reporting period, Mission India identified 3,083 total cases of possible NIV fraud. Just over half of those cases resulted in a finding of confirmed fraud (Chennai - 1,182 cases , 60 percent confirmed fraud rate of completed investigations; New Delhi - 685, 34 percent; Mumbai - 615, 56 percent; Hyderabad - 523, Kolkata - 78, 30 percent).
7. B1/B2 visa fraud is the most commonplace. Regionally-based fraud rings throughout the country, but especially in Hyderabad, continue to produce fraudulent documents for visa application and travel purposes. Some visa ""consultants"" and travel agents specialize in fraudulent experience letters and fake document packages, which include passport copies of false relatives, bogus financial documents, and affidavits of support.
8. In the last six months the number of reported B1/B2 fraud cases throughout the Mission has nearly doubled from 1,089 to 2,121. The increase is mostly due to an increased use of the ""suspicious docs"" function in the NIV system, although several posts have increased their fraud detection in B1/B2 cases. If an applicant admits to submitting a fraudulent document package, Chennai uses extensive text searches to identify additional cases with the same fraudulent details. New Delhi uncovered an extensive network of fraudulent Lions Club conference attendees (ref C). Mumbai recently discovered a scam involving unqualified children being misrepresented as attending different schools in an attempt to boost their financial credibility as Space Camp attendees (ref D). As a result, Mumbai now requires signed affidavits by chaperones and has physically canceled the visas of several large camp groups. In FY-2008, Mumbai confirmed an overstay rate of less than one percent for male B1/B2
CHENNAI 00000306 003 OF 017 applicants between ages 20 and 35 (ref E).
--------------- H-1B Visa Fraud ---------------
8. H-1B fraud is one of the top two visa categories for fraud throughout Mission India. All posts regularly encounter inflated or fabricated educational and employment qualifications. The vast majority of these documents come from Hyderabad. In the 18 months prior to the start-up of consular operations in Hyderabad, FPU Chennai investigated 150 companies in Hyderabad, 77 percent of which turned out to be fraudulent or highly suspect (ref F). Most of those cases slated for site visits were to verify the experience letters for H-1B applicants who did not meet minimum educational qualifications.
9. The state of Andhra Pradesh, and Hyderabad in particular, has long been the hub for fraudulent document vendors in India. Hyderabadi applicants comprised over one-third of Chennai's total visa workload in FY-2008, but well over half of the FPU workload. In its first three months of adjudications, investigations by Consulate General Hyderabad have already led to the arrests of several document vendors, to be reported septel. FPU Mumbai has identified several Hyderabad-based fraud schemes whereby Hyderabadi applicants claimed to work for fictitious companies in Pune in order to apply in Mumbai's consular district and avoid Chennai. During recent site visits in Bangalore (ref G), FPU Chennai encountered several fictitious companies staffed by Hyderabadis. The Hyderabadis claimed that they had opened shell companies in Bangalore because ""everyone knows Hyderabad has fraud and Bangalore is reputable.""
10. Mission India continues to be at the forefront of H and L adjudications and training. Over the last three years, Mission India has hosted successful country-wide and international H and L conferences to harmonize adjudication techniques and fraud prevention strategies. In the last two months of FY-2009 alone, Chennai hosted and conducted H and L training for officers and LES Fraud Assistants from Kuala Lumpur, Colombo, Auckland, Shanghai, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. Numerous other posts communicate regularly with Mission India on problematic H and L cases. In April 2008, Mission India's Country Fraud Prevention Coordinator attended a KCC conference on ""The Future of H and L Processing,"" and in May 2008 Chennai hosted a worldwide H and L fraud conference (ref H) attended by DHS, KCC, CA/VO, CA/FPP, DS and multiple posts that adjudicate large numbers of Indian H-1B applicants. Presentations from that conference are available on the intranet at http://intranet.ca.state.gov/ fraud/resources/niv/hl/20107.aspx. At the end of FY-2007, Mission India hosted a countrywide H and L fraud conference in New Delhi (ref I) and hosted another in September 2009. 11. FPU Mumbai identified a recent trend of ""mix-and-match"" couples where multiple H-4 spouses pretended to be married to the same H-1B spouse resident in the United States. These applicants were to pay upon issuance approximately $70,000 to the smuggler that arranged their documentation.
--------------- Religious Workers CHENNAI 00000306 004 OF 017 ---------------
13. Prior to the USCIS requirement that R-1 applications be petition-based, India detected considerable fraud among applicants for R-1 and R-2 visas traveling to the United States for religious purposes. During the last two years, most R-1 fraud was detected amongst Tibetan refugees, Sikh raagis, and Hindu priests. Mission R-1 fraud includes both fraudulent beneficiaries and fictitious inviting parties. Since DHS began requiring petitions for R-1 applicants in November, R-1 fraud referrals have almost completely dried up. Since DHS requires 100 percent on-site verification of petitioners, however, many potential R-1 applicants now apply for B1/B2 visas in an attempt to avoid closer scrutiny.
14. Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata have all recently reported on R-1 fraud trends (refs J, K and L). Mumbai noted that following numerous FPU site visits in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in which none of the purported Sikhs were legitimate religious workers, CY-2008 R-1 visa refusals have climbed to nearly 70 percent. Mumbai and Kolkata noted similar findings that Sikhs and Tibetan monks had the highest percentage of confirmed fraud during this period. Kolkata confirmed that 85 percent of R-1 Buddhist monks from the Northern District of West Bengal did not belong to the monasteries as they claimed. Most of these fake priests were from Nepal or from the south Indian state of Karnataka. FPU Kolkata observed that Buddhist priests and monks from this region all speak Hindi, and Buddhist monks who claim to speak only Tibetan are not from West Bengal. A recent Mission-wide study of stateless B1/B2 applicants, most of whom were purportedly Tibetan monks, confirmed an overstay rate of over fifty percent.
15. Coordination between the FPUs throughout Mission India has been highly effective in preventing fraud in many religious worker visa cases. An astute catch by the FPM in Kolkata caught several fraudulent R-1 applicants applying the same week in Mumbai and New Delhi. Based on an A/RSO-I investigation in New Delhi that uncovered fake stamps for an organization in Michigan, Chennai arranged the arrest of three fake Sikhs, and the Kolkata FPM used Watch Phrase to alert U.S. Mission New Zealand about its applicants connected to the same Michigan organization. These cases are now under investigation by DS. Technology tools, such as Watch Phrase and Text Search, have proven invaluable in combating R-1 fraud.
------------- Student Visas -------------
16. Many student applicants, even legitimate ones, are taken in by document vendors. They present fraudulent packages of bank statements and land documents in their interviews, and they are guided by advertising and news articles, such as the one in Hyderabad which declared, ""Study Part-Time, Work Full-Time"" on an F-1 student visa. In May, police arrested a document vendor in Hyderabad who provided fraudulent financial records for nearly 100 visa applicants, including many well qualified students. In June 2008, Chennai conducted an open house for local journalists to dispel the myths surrounding the visa process and to encourage CHENNAI 00000306 005 OF 017 students in particular not to rely on visa facilitators. CA/FPP has been instrumental in identifying schools that have a bad track record of students not maintaining status once in the United States. Mumbai confirmed a very low overstay rate in its recent Summer Work and Travel validation study (ref M).
--------------- Performer Visas ---------------
17. Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi have all been active in combating fraud of cultural performers and reporting on P3 fraud trends (Refs N, O, and P). The highest rate of fraud is in New Delhi, which has developed a mandatory FPU prescreening program for these types of cases. Its study validated an overall refusal rate of 56 percent and confirmed an overstay rate of five percent. Mumbai found that while P3 holders did not overstay their visas, several did report being mistreated and underpaid.
18. An investigation by the Chennai FPU in 2008 uncovered a visa fraud racket through which famous Tamil film actors and industry associates assisted mala fide applicants to obtain B1/B2 visas, purportedly to scout movie locations (ref Q). Over two hundred applicants applied for visas under this scheme, and 95 were issued. Thirty-eight of those applicants are confirmed overstays who are currently illegally present in the United States. FPU revoked the visas of 56 other individuals, mostly Tamil film stars and industry associates, for their direct role in this visa scheme. The case generated significant press attention throughout India and appeared on all of the major news networks, thereby creating a very high-profile anti-fraud awareness campaign.
--------------- C. IMMIGRANT VISA FRAUD ---------------
20. During the reporting period, Mission India identified 513 potential cases of IV fraud (New Delhi - 264, 30 percent confirmed fraud rate; Mumbai - 194, 32 percent; Chennai - 55, 30 percent). Kolkata and Hyderabad, which do not process IVs, assisted with several site visits in their respective consular districts. Although all posts face similar fraud trends (i.e. fraudulent relationships, fake civil documents, etc.) and have almost identical confirmed fraud rates, the volume of IV cases in New Delhi and Mumbai is significantly larger than that of Chennai.
21. The F and CR categories are particularly troublesome throughout Mission India, and posts see false family relationships and fictitious marriages and divorces every day. The Indian custom of arranged marriages makes adjudicating IR and CR cases particularly difficult, as the husband and wife often do not meet until just before their marriage. Many of the IV fraud referrals in Mumbai are CR-1 or F-21 cases stemming from ""arranged"" marriages between U.S. citizens or LPRs and Indian nationals. Thus, much of the FPUs' time is dedicated to determining the legitimacy of the family relationships that sustain the claim to immigrant status.
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22. New Delhi FPU investigates cases through a combination of Lexis-Nexis and PIERS checks on the petitioner side, and CCD checks, voters ID checks and calls to villagers. The majority of Post's IV fraud originates in Punjab state. Over the past year New Delhi FPU has broken numerous cases in which the beneficiary provided a false Voter's ID by searching the official voter registration on-line at http://www.ceopunjab.nic.in/. This site indicates who lives in the voter's house, their ages and marital status and/or father's name. Local police accepted three such cases of Voter's ID fraud for investigation. Calls are still the unit's most valuable resource. Using the online phone lists, the FPU can locate phone numbers in the area in which the applicant lives and call those neighbors for information about the beneficiary and sometimes petitioner. This is more effective in rural areas; city residents are less informed/less willing to talk about their neighbors.
23. Posts also frequently encounter misrepresentations of marital status in order to benefit from later ""current processing dates"" (e.g. falsely claiming to be single by denying the applicant has a spouse and children in order to qualify for F1 classification) and misrepresentations of the age of children in order to qualify as part of the family eligible to immigrate. Chennai has seen the largest number of these cases originating from the state of Kerala (ref R).
--------------- D. DIVERSITY VISA FRAUD ---------------
24. Although Indians are generally ineligible to participate in the Diversity Visa program, Kolkata conducted five DV investigations for Nepalese nationals. All five cases were confirmed fraudulent.
--------------- E. ACS AND U.S. PASSPORT FRAUD ---------------
25. Although passport and CRBA-related fraud exists, few cases have been reported. During the rating period, New Delhi and Mumbai reported 42 fraud checks, 39 of which were for DNA. Only one of these cases resulted in a confirmed fraud finding. The rise in DNA verifications in Mumbai is primarily due to fraud concerns in surrogacy cases. Mumbai, New Delhi and Hyderabad have all noted increasing numbers of surrogacy cases, to be reported septel.
--------------- F. ADOPTION FRAUD ---------------
26. During the reporting period, no posts referred any adoption cases for review. Recent media accounts have focused attention on reportedly fraudulent adoptions in India by Australian parents. Other countries have also expressed concerns about cases stemming from questionable orphanages in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Indian authorities are investigating these claims (Ref S).
--------------- G. Use of DNA Testing CHENNAI 00000306 007 OF 017 ---------------
27. Mission India does not currently have any fraud concerns with DNA testing. Guidance for all posts is to utilize DNA testing as a last resort, and most cases are resolved through interviews, phone calls and site visits. During the rating period, Mission India conducted DNA testing in 91 cases, and in only five Mumbai IV cases was fraud confirmed. This does not include DNA tests on behalf of DHS, or cases for which DNA was recommended but the applicant did not submit a sample.
--------------- H. Asylum and Other DHS Benefits Fraud ---------------
28. All posts now refer FDNS requests to FDNS HQ for appropriate dissemination. Since those cases should be routed to the USCIS, ICE and CBP representatives at Embassy New Delhi, the number of DHS referrals has decreased significantly in the past six months to only 32 cases (Mumbai 22, Chennai - 6, Hyderabad - 2, New Delhi - 2). Twenty-three of those requests were for DNA. DHS New Delhi processes DNA cases only in the Delhi consular district.
--------------- I. Alien Smuggling, Trafficking, Organized Crime, Terrorist Travel ---------------
29. Alien smuggling from and through India using fraudulent travel documents is one of the most serious challenges facing posts in the region. Smuggling ranges from individual document vendors to sophisticated criminal organizations that move hundreds of people to the U.S. each year. Delhi and Mumbai have become key transit points for illegal migrants proceeding to the U.S. from India. DS/CR/VPAU, in consultation with DRSO/I New Delhi, and the Austrian, Canadian, British, and New Zealand High Commissions continue to monitor third-country nationals transiting New Delhi with counterfeit documents. Individuals of numerous nationalities, including Armenians, Iraqis, Moroccans, Georgian, Bangladeshi, Congolese, Nepalese, and Sri Lankans have been intercepted attempting to transit New Delhi with fraudulent documents. Other Indian airports have also been reporting similar patterns. From 10/2008 to 04/2009, there were 32 encounters/off-loads involving Nepalese/Tibetans via New Delhi enroute to JFK alone.
30. Trafficking in persons (TIP) remains an area of concern. India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Internal trafficking of women and girls for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage is prevalent. The GOI estimates 90 percent of India's sex trafficking is internal, although estimates of the number of trafficking victims vary widely and are generally unreliable. Recent years have seen an increase in trafficking to medium-sized cities and satellite towns of large cities. India is also a destination for women and girls from Nepal and Bangladesh trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.
--------------- J. DS Criminal Fraud Investigations ---------------
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31. The single greatest development in combating fraud in India has been expansion of the RSO-I program and the close relationship between A/RSO-Is and FPMs throughout Mission India. All posts have an A/RSO-I, and since FY-2008, the I-program in India has facilitated the arrests of over 380 mala fide applicants and vendors. All of the RSO-Is and FPMs attended the Mission-wide fraud conferences at the end of FY-2007 and FY-2009 and the H and L Conference in Chennai in May 2008. All RSO-Is and FPMs are included in a common email group that is used daily, and the D/RSO-I and Country Coordinator for Fraud Prevention Programs plan their quarterly trips to each post in consultation with one another.
32. As the A/RSO-I/FPU program expands in India to move beyond arrest statistics and personnel growth, the program has inevitably encountered challenges in another stage of criminal prosecutions; court trials. Permission to testify in foreign courts must be sought and obtained according to international treaty standards and stringent FAM regulations. Seeking such permission has been an infrequent requirement since most officers are long gone by the time cases reach their court dates. However, these summons are anticipated to occur much more frequently now, particularly given the high volume of arrests in FY-2008. In a recent case, ARSO/I Mumbai obtained such approval after much guidance and consultation with D/RSO-I and L/DL and was able to testify in January 2009 in a large-scale smuggling case involving H4 visa fraud. A procedure has since been established to facilitate future summons delivery, immunity, and testimonial issues.
33. ARSO/Is have also sought to address the ""transferred officer"" syndrome, by encouraging the use of FSNI's as complainants in fraud cases brought to local law enforcement for investigation; a practice in use by other ARSO/I-FPU programs in Indonesia and Colombia. Based on initiatives by ARSO/Is in India, L/DL recently made an important decision to allow FSNs to sign and file the initial police reports with Indian law enforcement. By the time these cases reach the courts, there is a much greater likelihood that the FSNs on the report will still be available to act as witnesses than there is for the ARSO/I. This will help ensure that cases generated by ARSO/I and FPU efforts will complete the full cycle of crime detection, investigation, and prosecution.
34. Finally, as a result of an increasing amount of pressure both from the U.S. government and from other diplomatic missions, primarily the U.K., Canada, Australia, Germany, and New Zealand, Indian law enforcement is slowly beginning to address smuggling and trafficking issues in India. Recently, ARSO/I Mumbai met with the Joint Commissioner of Police to discuss alien smuggling schemes. The meeting resulted in the creation of a Special Cell for Human Trafficking and Smuggling within the Mumbai Crime Branch. The result is that cases referred from the US Consulate will now be worked by trained investigators as opposed to local constables who do not have the training or experience to deal with complex document fraud cases.
--------------- K. Indian Passport, Identity Documents, and Civil Registry ---------------
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35. Indian Passport fraud is a significant and continuously worrisome fraud challenge. For all of the security features and improvements in quality control of current Indian passports, quality and issuance control are lax and penalties are so inadequate that virtually anyone can obtain a genuinely issued, but fraudulent passport with near impunity.
36. The design of the Indian passport incorporates many good security features that would normally lead to a more favorable rating of this document's vulnerability. The problem lies in production inconsistency and vulnerable source documents. Quality control is lax at production locations. Thus, genuine passports sometimes are partially or completely missing security features. Genuine passports issued on the same day at the same place can look entirely different - a different batch but the numbers are sequentially close.
37. The only documentation required for a passport is proof of birth and proof of residency. Easily reproduced school records can suffice for the former, while a bank statement or utility bill can be used to ""prove"" the latter. Although police are supposed to verify the information on each application by visiting the applicant's neighborhood and interviewing neighbors, such checks are often cursory at best. In most cases, police officials will only check warrant records and then hand over a clean record to passport authorities. Notwithstanding these problems, the fact the application process requires a police check is positive.
38. Ironically, another positive is the cumbersome Indian bureaucracy. The application process for a passport can be extremely time consuming and laborious. Anyone with an urgent desire for a fraudulent Indian passport may thus pursue an alternative to acquiring a legitimate passport with fake source documents. Finally, Indian passports are issued through regional offices. One benefit of this is that individuals applying outside of their 'normal' region would attract additional attention and scrutiny.
39. Fraudulent civil documentation is common in India, both in terms of documents that have been fabricated outright, and documents issued improperly. Posts see a myriad of fraudulent documents, including fake civil registry documents, counterfeit entry/exit stamps and third-country visas, employment letters, sponsorship and financial documents, bogus degrees and entrance examination scores, and altered marriage and site photographs. Visa consultants sell such documents to applicants who seek their advice about how to qualify for visas. Peddlers of fraudulent documents abound and operate quite openly in major Indian cities and even some of the smaller towns. Government officials are not above fraudulent issuances either. Virtually all birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage registration documents can be purchased from corrupt local government officials or brokers.
--------------- L. Cooperation with Host Government Authorities ---------------
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40. All posts have increased efforts to work more closely with Indian authorities in a number of areas of common interest, such as making Indian documents more secure, establishing fraud prevention strategies, verification of civil registry information, and the apprehension of criminals. Airport police and immigration authorities in Mumbai have been aggressive in detaining individuals who DHS deported for fraudulent documents. Law enforcement in New Delhi has been actively involved in arresting visa vendors but has not taken a general interest in arresting persons denied boarding at the airport for presenting fraudulent documents, in part due to the absence of a U.S. presence at the airport.
41. In Mumbai, the consulate looks forward to further cooperation with the newly established Anti Human Trafficking and Smuggling Cell (AHTSC) of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch. This new unit has already uncovered a racket where women posed as the wives of Air India employees using photo-substituted passports. To date, nine arrests have been reported in connection with this case.
42. In Chennai, law enforcement officials investigate cases involving Chennai applicants but are hesitant to do so with applicants from other states. The opening of Consulate General Hyderabad has greatly improved interaction with local government officials. The Chairman of the Stat" "e Board of Education in Andhra Pradesh has been instrumental in developing and maintaining the integrity of OLIVE, the Online Verification system for high priority educational degrees in the state. A similar program, MARTINI, has been set up in the state of Karnataka.
--------------- M. Areas of Particular Concern ---------------
43. Mission India appreciates the considerable support it has received from the Department in combating visa fraud. All Mission FPUs are now better equipped, and most will soon have appropriate offices from which to operate. The Chennai and Kolkata FPUs have completed their physical expansion, while phase one of the New Delhi reconstruction project was completed in March. All of consular section Mumbai eagerly awaits the completion of a new consulate compound, currently scheduled for FY2010. Consulate General Hyderabad officially began visa processing in March.
44. The possibility of submitting large validation studies for entry/exit checks with the USVISIT program has significantly enhanced Mission India validation studies. During the reporting period, Mission India conducted validation studies for referrals (ref T), non-English applicants (refs U and V), and C1/D applicants (refs W and X).
--------------- N. STAFFING AND TRAINING ---------------
45. Mission India lists below for each post the names, position titles and consular-specific training each FPU member has received. Each post has a full-time FPM, except for Kolkata where the FPM is a part-time portfolio, and an A/RSO-I. The FPM in Chennai is also the Country Coordinator. The FPM position in Mumbai has been ceded to Entry Level until at least 2011. Each post has its own in-house
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training for new FPU staff. All officers have taken basic consular training.
------- Chennai -------
John A. Ballard Country Coordinator for Fraud Prevention Programs/Fraud Prevention Manager PC-126 Advanced Consular Name Checking, Washington, 8/03 PC-543 Analytic Interviewing, Washington, 6/04 PC-108 Consular Leadership Development Conference, Cyprus, 12/04 PC-541 Fraud Prevention for Consular Managers, FSI, 8/05 Eurasia Fraud Conference, Istanbul, 3/06 PC-532 Advanced Consular Course, Washington, 6/07 H and L Fraud Conference, New Delhi, 10/07 The Future of H and L Processing, KCC, 4/08 Worldwide H and L Fraud Conference, Chennai, 5/08 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09 Salman Khalil Deputy Fraud Prevention Manager Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09 Anthony K. Ramirez Assistant Regional Security Officer/Investigations DTB50100 - DS Management Operations Course 11/2000 I2 - Investigative Database Utilization and Management 03/01 DTB10100 - Basic Special Agent Course 05/02 PC 538 - Non-Immigrant Visa Training 03/04 DS Asset Forfeiture and Financial Investigation Training, 08/04 DHS - Document Fraud Detection and Recognition 08/04 OT 101 - DS/RSO Course 05/05 Basic Consular Course, FSI, 06/09-07/09 H and L Fraud Conference, New Delhi, 10/07 PC-126A Advanced Consular Namechecking Techniques Overview, Chennai, 3/08 Worldwide H and L Fraud Conference, Chennai, 5/08 Worldwide A/RSO-I Conference, Budapest, 11/08 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Priya Francis Security Investigator (FSN/I) PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post 2002 & 2004 PC-542, Fraud Prevention Training, Washington, 3/2005 PC-126A Advanced Consular Namechecking Techniques Overview, Chennai, 3/08 OT-501, FSN-I Basic Training Course, DSTC, VA, 12/08 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09 Ann D'Silva Consular Investigations Specialist PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post 02/99 FSN antifraud course (FSNAC), Bangkok, 11/1999 PA-248 Supervisory Skills Workshop, Dhaka, 07/2003 PC-542, Fraud Prevention Training for FSN'S, Washington, 11/2003 CHENNAI 00000306 012 OF 017 H1B Fraud Conference in Boston, 05/06 H and L Fraud Conference, New Delhi, 10/07 PC-126A Advanced Consular Namechecking Techniques Overview, Chennai, 3/08 PC-106 Regional Workshop for Consular FSNs, Washington, 3/08 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09 Anandan Ramanan Consular Investigations Assistant PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post 02/99 Supervisory Skills Workshop, New Delhi 04/2000 PC-542, Fraud Prevention Training, Washington, 04/2002 PC-126A Advanced Consular Namechecking Techniques Overview, Chennai, 3/08 Management Skills Workshop for LE Supervisors, Chennai 09/2008 Dipti Peteti Consular Investigations Assistant PC-542, Fraud Prevention Training, Washington, 11/07 PC-126A Advanced Consular Namechecking Techniques Overview, Chennai, 3/08 PC-102, Immigration Law and Visa Operations, Chennai, 07/08 Customer Service training, Chennai, September 18-19,2008 Rajalakshmi Vasanthakumar Consular Investigations Assistant PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post 05/02 PC-126A Advanced Consular Namechecking Techniques Overview, Chennai, 3/08 PC-542, Fraud Prevention Training, Washington, 9/08 Preethi Nelson Consular Investigations Assistant PC-123 Workshop for Senior Immigrant Visa LES,Washington D.C. 04/2008 PC-103 Nationality Law/Consular Procedures, Chennai, 07/2008 PC-123 Workshop for Senior Immigrant Visa LES,Washington D.C. 09/2004 PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations, Chennai, 09/2004 PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations, Chennai, 05/2002 Srinivas Vadagepalli Consular Investigations Clerk PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post 10/07 PC-126A Advanced Consular Name checking Techniques Overview, Chennai, PC128 - Detecting Impostors 06/2008 PC544 - Detecting Fraudulent Documents 07/2008 PC103 - Nationality Law/Consular Procedures 07/2008 Customer Service Training by Regional Employee Development Center 09/08 PK196 - E2 Solutions: Travel Arranger 01/2009 PC545 - Examining U.S. Passports 06/2009
------- Kolkata -------
CHENNAI 00000306 013 OF 017
Alan Smith Fraud Prevention Manager PC-541 Fraud Prevention for Consular Managers, FSI, 4/09
Anne Brunne FLETC CITP, 11/1998 DS BSAC, 02/1999 PC-530, 6/2008 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Partha Banerji Consular Assistant (also handles small IV workload) NEA/SA Consular FSN Workshop (PC-106), FSI Washington, 02/2000 FSN Fraud Prevention Workshop, Hotel Park-Hyatt, Washington, 04/2002
FSN Fraud Prevention Workshop (PC-542) FSI Washington, 3/2005 H and L Fraud Conference, New Delhi, 10/07 FSN Fraud Prevention Workshop (PC-542) FSI Washington, 11/2008 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
James P Rozario H and L Consular Assistant FSN Fraud Prevention Workshop (PC-542) FSI Washington, 03/09
------ Mumbai ------
Margaret MacLeod Fraud Prevention Manager PC-128 Detecting Imposters PC-406 The Consular Officer's Role in Combating Trafficking in Persons PC-541 Fraud Prevention for Consular Managers, 04/2008 PC-544 Detecting Fraudulent documents PC- 545 Examining U.S. Passports - v1.0 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Kanishka Gangopadhyay Deputy Fraud Prevention Manager Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Viktor Karabin Assistant Regional Security Officer - InvestigationsFederal Law Enforcement Training Center, Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP), 10/02-1/03 Diplomatic Security Basic Special Agent Course (BSAC), 09/02-05/03 Basic Consular Course, FSI, 06/09-07/09 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Mehjabeen Chougle Security Investigator (FSNI) PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations PC-128 Detecting Imposters Basic FSNI Course at Dunn Loring, Virginia 11/05 PC-542 FSN Fraud Prevention Course, Washington 11/2005
CHENNAI 00000306 014 OF 017
H and L Fraud Conference, New Delhi 10/07 H/L onsite training, Chennai, 08/09 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Shiraz Mehta LES Supervisor PC-542, Fraud Prevention Training, Washington, 11/2003 PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations PC-128 Detecting Imposters PC-544 Detecting Fraudulent documents Business writing- The Fundamentals Supervisory training held in Chennai-Sep 2008 H/L onsite training, Chennai, 08/09 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Harji Saparia Consular Investigations Assistant PC-542, Fraud Prevention Training, Washington, 11/2005 PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post PC-106 General NIV training PC-544 Detecting Fraudulent documents H and L Fraud Conference, New Delhi, 10/07 H/L onsite training, Chennai, 08/09
Suma Jogi Consular Investigations Assistant PC-542, Fraud Prevention Training, Washington, 11/2007 PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post H/L onsite training, Chennai, 08/09
Karishma Kika H and L Consular Investigations Assistant PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post H and L On-site training, Chennai, 10/07 PC-128- Detecting Imposters PC-406 The Consular Officer's Role in Combating Trafficking in Persons
Deepa Chandran Consular Investigation Assistant PC-102 Immigration laws and Regulations PC-128 Detecting imposters
Issaki Venkat Consular Investigations Clerk H and L On-site Training, Chennai, 10/07
--------- New Delhi ---------
Geoffrey Martineau Fraud Prevention Manager PC541 Fraud Prevention for Consular Managers, 07/01 Advanced Consular Namecheck, 08/03 Automation for Consular Managers, 08/03 PC541 Fraud Prevention for Consular Managers, (scheduled for 10/09)
CHENNAI 00000306 015 OF 017
Mission-Wide Fraud Conference, 09/09
Sandeep Paul Vice Consul (FPU Rotation) PC 530 Basic Consular Course (ConGen) 04/2005 PC 541 Fraud Prevention for Consular Managers 04/2006 PC 127 CA Review for Consular Officers 05/2008 Mission-Wide Fraud Conference, 09/09
Jeniffer Fasciglione Consular Associate Basic Con/Gen- FSI 2000 Customer Service Training - Bern, Switzerland 2001/2002 PC-126A Advanced Consular Namechecking Techniques Overview, New Delhi, 3/08 DAFWG Document Fraud Workshop - New Delhi 12/08 PC128- Detecting Imposters 9/09 PC544 - Detecting Fraudulent Documents 9/09
Lalmuongpui (Mai) Landymore Consular Assistant PC102 - Immigration Law and Visa Operations, Guangzhou PC 441 - Passport Data Security Awareness, Delhi
Eric A. Nordstrom Deputy Regional Security Officer - Investigations Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Criminal Investigation Training Program (CITP), 08/1998; Diplomatic Security Basic Special Agent Course (BSAC), 09/1998 DT 250, DS Criminal Supervisors Course, (24 hrs), 10/2004 Diplomatic Security Asset Forfeiture and Financial Investigation Training Course (24hrs) - 06/2005 USDOJ / OCDETF Financial Investigations Seminar (30 hours) 10/2006 PC-541 Fraud Prevention for Consular Managers, FSI, 08/2007 H and L Fraud Conference, New Delhi, 10/2007 Worldwide H and L Fraud Conference, Chennai, 5/08 Worldwide A/RSO-I Conference, Budapest, 11/08 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Jyoti Sapra FPU Visa Assistant PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post Fraud Prevention Workshop in Washington. PC-126A Advanced Consular Namechecking Techniques Overview, New Delhi, 3/08 PA-248 FSN Supervisory Skills Workshop PC-103 - Nationality Law/Consular Procedures at post PC-544 Detecting Fraudulent Documents Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Rajender Marwaha FPU Visa Assistant PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post PC-103 Nationality Law/Consular Procedures at post, 2007 Fraud Prevention Training: At post, on-the-job training. PC-126A Advanced Consular Namechecking Techniques Overview, New Delhi, 3/08
CHENNAI 00000306 016 OF 017
PC-542 LES Fraud Prevention Assistants Course, 11/08
Sanjeev Tyagi Security Investigator (FSN/I) Basic FSNI Course at Dunn Loring, Virginia 10/04 H and L Fraud Conference, New Delhi 10/07 PC-126A Advanced Consular Namechecking Techniques Overview, New Delhi, 3/08 FSN Fraud Prevention Workshop (PC-542) FSI Washington, 03/09 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Ritika Sawhney FPU Investigations Assistant PC-103 - Nationality Law/Consular Procedures at post PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post
Megha Singh FPU Investigations Assistant PC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post PC-103 Nationality Law/Consular Procedures at post, 2007 Fraud Prevention Training: At post, on-the-job training
Shalini Khanduja FPU Investigations Assistant Newly hired, in training
Sanjeev Sharma FPU Investigations Assistant Newly hired, in trainingPC-102 Immigration Law and Visa Operations at post PC-103 Nationality Law/Consular Procedures at post
--------- Hyderabad ---------
Jason B. Rieff Fraud Prevention Manager PC-541 Fraud Prevention for Consular Managers, Washington, 7/08 PC-540 Consular Review and Automation, Washington, 8/08 PC-127 CA Review for Consular Officers, Washington, 8/08 PC-137 Automation for NIV, Washington, 8/08 PC-116 Automated Systems for Consular Managers, Washington, 8/08 PC-139 Automation for ACS Unit, Washington 8/08 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Greg Rankin Vice Consul/Backup Fraud Prevention Manager
Nathan M. Kim Assistant Regional Security Officer/Investigations Federal Law Enforcement Training Center - Criminal Investigations Training Program, 6/2003 Diplomatic Security - Basic Special Agent Course, 10/2003 Asset Forfeiture Training, 2/2005 PC-530 Basic Consular Course, 10/2008 International Conference on Asian Organized Crime and Terrorism,
CHENNAI 00000306 017 OF 017
3/2009 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Chadive W. Reddy Consular Investigations Specialist Fraud Prevention training at FPU, U.S. Con Gen, Chennai, 11/2008 PC-102 Immigration Law & Visa Operations, 12/2008 PC-103 Nationality Law/Consular Procedures, 12/2008 PC-104 Overseas Citizen Services, 12/2008 PC-128 Detecting Impostors, 12/2008 PC-544 Detecting Fraudulent Documents, 01/2009 PC-545 Examining U.S. Passports, 01/2009 PC-542 Fraud Prevention Workshop for FSN's, Washington, 03/2009 Mission India FPU Conference, New Delhi, 9/09
Chetan K. Bandari Consular Investigations Assistant Fraud Prevention training at FPU, U.S. Con Gen, Chennai, 11/2008 PC-102 Immigration Law & Visa Operations, 12/2008 PC-103 Nationality Law/Consular Procedures, 12/2008 PC-104 Overseas Citizen Services, 01/2009 PC-128 Detecting Impostors, 12/2008 PC-544 Detecting Fraudulent Documents, 01/2009 PC-545 Examining U.S. Passports, 01/2009