According to indictments filed in the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan this month, a Detroit based immigration attorney and a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent are accused of helping some immigrants avoid deportation. The scheme, which authorities are describing as a ‘bribery scheme’, involved large sums of money being paid by immigrants to avoid being deported from the U.S.
Court documents reveal that immigrants or their families paid Charles Busse, an immigration attorney in Birmingham, Michigan, up to $15,000 in order to be put in touch with Special Agent Clifton Divers. Divers, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent working in Detroit, would then misrepresent the immigrant in question to the Department of Homeland Security as an undercover informant.
Divers would tell Department of Homeland Security officials that the immigrants, usually from Albania, Iraq and Mexico, were assisting Immigration and Customs officials with undercover investigations. Most commonly, the investigations Divers alluded to had to do with money laundering, drug smuggling, or the manufacture of falsified identification documents. In this way, they were able to receive government protection and would not be deported.
This is apparently not the first time Busse has been investigated for corruption. In 2003, during his 16 year term as president of Warren City Council, he was accused of extorting money from people who were seeking contracts with the city. In addition, he was also accused of mail-fraud. In the end, Busse was acquitted by a federal jury of seven corruption charges.
According to the court information, the crimes took place between 2009 and 2015, and involved five immigrants. As a result, Busse and Divers have been federally charged with Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S. and Bribery of a Public Official. In addition, each defendant is also facing individual charges.
Divers has been charged with Destruction of Records in Federal Investigations and Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations. Busse, on the other hand, is facing additional charges of Tax Evasion and Failure to Report Transactions of More Than $10,000.
Under federal law, Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S. is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, while Bribery of a Public Official is a 15 year felony. The other crimes mentioned here are also felonies under federal law. Both Destruction of Records in Federal Investigations and Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations are both punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison,
The immigrants who were implicated in the scheme have all been arrested and are currently being detained. It is likely that they will either be prosecuted or deported. In a written statement released to the press, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade says,”Anyone who abuses a federal law enforcement position for personal profit can expect to face serious penalties, including criminal prosecution.”
In a situation like this, the people accused lose not only their freedom and their futures, they also lose their credibility and their ability to do the jobs that have supported their families for so long. According to Attorney Chuck Kronzek, founding partner of the Kronzek Firm, “Accusations and charges of this nature cost more than just money and time. They cost you your ability to earn an income in the future. This can be disastrous for your family and for everyone else who relies on you for a livelihood.”
If you have been accused of a crime where conviction would result in the loss of your professional license, you are going to need help from skilled attorneys who can skillfully defend you. Call the Kronzek Firm immediately. We have represented hundreds of clients in the past whose jobs were on the line. We can help you too when you call us at 1 866-766-5245.