A Chula Vista man has pleaded guilty to making false statements on immigration documents when he unlawfully received money from airline mechanics for help in obtaining work visas.
Eleno “Max” Quinteros, Jr., 46, was vice president of operations at the time for two airline mechanic staffing companies when he falsely stated he received no payments from the mechanics.
Quinteros collected several hundred thousand dollars from employees and paid attorneys with some of the money and kept some for himself, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“Legal permanent residency is not for sale,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson. “This office is dedicated to fighting immigration fraud and prosecuting those who hawk lawful immigration status for their own personal gain.”
U.S. District Court Judge Michal Anello set sentencing for Nov. 6. Quinteros remains free on $50,000 bond.
The maximum penalty is 10 years in federal prison. The other 39 counts in the March indictment will be dismissed at sentencing.
Quinteros assisted Mexican airline mechanics in obtaining work visas in order to work in the U.S. and helped arrange some to pursue legal permanent residency at a fee of several thousand dollars apiece. They were told to make payment to his wife’s bank account to conceal its source, according to the indictment.
“Immigration benefit fraud is a serious crime and those who corrupt the integrity of our nation’s legal immigration system must understand there are serious consequences for those actions,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations.
“Not only do schemes like this potentially rob deserving immigrants of benefits they rightfully deserve, thy also create a security vulnerability that could be exploited by criminals and others who pose a danger to our community,” said Macias.
The agencies which investigated the case were the Department of Homeland Security, State Department Diplomatic Security Service and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.