Eleven people arrested in a scheme that raked in an estimated $50,000,000. Here are details from the LA Times:
Authorities arrested 11 people Monday in an alleged U.S. work-visa scam that raked in more than $50 million from thousands of Brazilians since 2002. Some of those scammed went to the U.S. and wound up as illegal aliens because promised jobs didn't exist.
Brazilians seeking temporary working visas were charged up to $15,000 each in what a statement from the U.S. Consulate called one of the largest cases of U.S. visa fraud ever. Similar schemes were uncovered in Russia, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Romania and the United Arab Emirates.
Police are still searching for seven suspects, including one who holds U.S. citizenship, said Aline Alves, the state prosecutor. Assisted by U.S. officials, Alves headed the investigation into the fraud in Latin America's largest city.
Alves said unidentified U.S.-based immigration lawyers and Brazilian middlemen hatched the scheme by getting temporary visas authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and then charging Brazilians exorbitant rates to land those visas tied to jobs that rarely existed.