US indicts American for conspiracy in Haitian immigrants case

FLORIDA, United States, Wednesday May 22, 2013 – The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) says a federal judge has unsealed a three-count indictment returned by a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida charging an American woman for her role in bringing 143 Haitian nationals to the United States on fraudulently obtained guest worker visas.

The DOJ said Jetta McPhee, 59, of Tamarac, Florida, and her co-conspirator secured the visas “based on false representations that there were jobs awaiting those workers.” 

The indictment alleges that from April 2008 to July 2009, McPhee conspired with Haitian Marie Nicole Dorval to commit visa fraud by “making false representations to the federal government about the availability of construction jobs in order to secure H-2B guest worker visas for Haitian nationals.”

Dorval previously pleaded guilty to visa fraud conspiracy in connection with her role in the scheme, the DOJ said. 

According to the indictment, McPhee prepared a fraudulent contract falsely representing that an American company needed 150 full-time construction workers for 10 months at an hourly wage of US$8.42.  

McPhee and her co-conspirator then submitted this fraudulent contract to the US Department of Labour and to US Citizenship and Immigration Services in connection with their application for the H-2B guest worker visas, the indictment alleges. 

It claims that McPhee and her co-conspirator “recruited workers in Haiti, promising them full-time employment and other benefits, including the possibility of obtaining permanent residency, and charged fees for the employment opportunity.”

The indictment alleges that after several recruits were denied visas, McPhee travelled to the US embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to facilitate approval of the visas based on the “false representations of available construction jobs.”

According to the indictment, 143 Haitian nationals ultimately entered the US on guest worker visas the co-conspirators obtained “based on the false representations.”

When the applicants arrived, there were no jobs.

McPhee was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, and two counts of visa fraud for “aiding and abetting the presentation of fraudulent documents to the US Department of Labor and to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.” 

If convicted, she could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of US$250,000 on the conspiracy charge, and 10 years in prison and a fine of US$250,000 on each of the two visa fraud charges.(CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)