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I .S.

Department of Homeland Security

-12 5 ! Street. N\
\. DC 2<l.v'«>

U.S. Immigration
and Customs
February 4, 2004


FROM: John P. Clark

Director, Offtee of Investigations

Roles and Responsibilities of the ICE Benefit Fraud Units

The purpose of this memorandum is to explain the roles and responsibilities of the ICE Benefit
Fraud Units, components of the Identity and Benefits Fraud Unit within Division 3, Headquarters,
Office of Investigations (OI).


On September 12, 2003, OI established a Benefit Fraud Project creating three Benefit Fraud Units
(BFU's) operating in Vermont, Texas and California (see HQ/OI 50/5 dated September 5, 2003,
copy attached). This project is an anti-fraud initiative involving ICE and U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services (CIS). The mission of the ICE BFU's is twofold: to review, assess, develop,
and when appropriate, forward to the field, investigative leads identified during the benefit
application process by the CIS Fraud Detection Units (FDU's) 1 or the BFU's; and to provide
investigative support and assistance to the SAC offices in benefit fraud investigations and other
investigations having a nexus to immigration benefits.

Immigration fraud poses a severe threat to national security and public safety because it enables
terrorists, criminals, and illegal aliens to gain entry to and remain in the United States.
Benefit fraud (the willful misrepresentation of material fact on a petition or application to gain an
immigration benefit) is a particularly serious form of immigration fraud, and increasingly, an
extremely lucrative form of organized white-collar crime. The BFU's were created as a means of
identifying and targeting, at the earliest possible point (i.e. when a petition or application is received
at a CIS Service Center), the most significant and egregious immigration benefit fraud violators,
such as organizations and facilitators engaged in large-scale schemes involving multiple applications
or indi\s who pose a threat to national security or public safety. In their role as liaison for the
SAC offices to CIS, the BFU's are positioned to develop significant investigative leads for

Fhe FDU's are the CIS clearinghouses for all leads and fraud trend information from CIS field offices. Service Centers,
and the National Benefits Center. Ihe rUU stalls include Intelligence Research Specialists experienced in computer
data mining of immigration data systems and analysis methodologies.
Subject: Roles and Responsibilities of the ICE Benefit Fraud Units

forwarding to SAC offices, and to obtain from CIS information and assistance to support and
enhance existing ICE investigations.


BFU Leads Referred to the SA C Offices

The BFU's presently receive a large volume of lead information from the CIS FDU's. It is the
responsibility of the BFU's to assess, prioritize, and when appropriate, forward that information to
the SAC offices.2 Initially, the BFU's will use the attached Benefit Fraud Referral (BFR) form to
forward information to the SAC offices. In the future, it is anticipated that the BFU's will utilize
TECS to refer leads to the SAC offices.

The BFR will ordinarily be addressed to the SAC and will be forwarded to the SAC's designated
point of contact for receipt of BFU referrals. The BFR will include a brief synopsis of the lead, a
more detailed narrative summary of the lead information, the contact information for the BFU
initiating the referral, and the urgency level attributed to the referral by the BFU. The following
levels will be used by the BFU's:

Level 1 Benefit fraud organizations or facilitators that pose an imminent threat to

public safety and/or national security3, or individuals who pose an imminent
threat to public safety and/or national security.

Level 2 Other benefit fraud organizations or facilitators

Level 3 Individual violators

Special Agents in Charge (and/or their designecs) should review and consider each referral received
from the BFU's, as they do with lead information received from other sources, to determine an
appropriate response in relation to the potential threat to the national security or public safety of the
United States, ICE investigative priorities, and their office's resource availability.

Due to the highly time-sensitive, critical nature of Level 1 referrals, I have authorized the BFU's to
directly task, set call ups for, and track the performance of the SAC offices in handling Level 1
referrals. Generally, action on Level 1 referrals should be initiated within 30 days of receipt of the
referral with case updates at 30-day intervals. Certain Level 2 and 3 cases that are identified in the
BFR as Headquarters OI approved mandatory case openings will be directly tasked as well. The
BFU's will monitor the status of Level 1 referrals as well as less time-sensitive referrals designated
as mandatory case openings.

2 if a lead received from CIS either does not fall within the ICh referral criteria, or if the BFU determines that CIS
administrative action is appropriate (denial/revocation/rescission, adjudicator interview of beneficiary/petitioner, etc.),
the BFU will return the lead to the pertinent CIS FDU.

' National security leads will be processed in accordance with existing policy and procedural instructions from the
National Security and Threat Protection Unit, until updated under separate cover.
Subject: Roles and Responsibilities of the ICE Benefit Fraud Units

BFU Assistance to SA C Offices

The BFU's are also responsible for supporting the SAC offices in benefit fraud investigations and
any other investigations with a nexus to immigration benefits, and serve as the SAC offices' primary
liaison to CIS. When a SAC office requires investigation-related data mining assistance,
information from immigration files and records (i.e. current addresses or names of associates of
targets/witnesses), or any other information or action from CIS, they should contact the BFU's4 to
request and obtain assistance. The SAC offices may also utilize the BFU's to refer to CIS for
appropriate administrative action, immigration petitions and applications identified during ICE
investigations and prosecutions.

The BFU's will also, on a limited basis, conduct Level 1 or 2 benefit fraud investigations under the
supervision of the SAC if a SAC office has insufficient resources to pursue the investigation.

Please ensure that all field offices within your respective jurisdictions are advised of the contents of
this memorandum, including the attachments.

Should there be any questions with regard to this memorandum or to the BFU's in general, please
contact Cynthia O'Connell, Interim Director, Identity and Benefits Fraud Unit, at (202) 307-0651.
Points of contact for the three Benefit Fraud Units are Paula Corrigan/Vermont (802) 660-5016,
Scott Robertson/Texas (214) 905-8320, and Anthony Esposito/California (949) 360-2995.


cc: All Deputy Assistant Directors

Benefit Fraud Units

4 The SAC office may contact a BFU through its Headquarters Identity and Benefits Fraud Unit Desk Officer (current
list of Desk Officer assignments is attached).