Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Juan Felipe Martinez, a Special Agent for Homeland Security Investigations, a division  of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), was arrested by Federal agents this week, and charged with extorting $1.9m from a Colombian construction company, to ensure that it, and its officers, would not receive an SDN designation from OFAC. It appears that there was no ongoing criminal investigation at the time of the company, and the sanctions threat was a bogus promise to extend law enforcement protection to the victims.

(1) Seven counts of Extortion.
(2) Two counts of Bribery.
(3) Two counts of False Writing.
(4) One count of Conspiracy to Commit Extortion.

According to the Indictment, Martinez conspired with a Confidential Informant in the extortion scheme, from whom he allegedly received bribes in the bogus OFAC matter. That informant has already been convicted for his role in the case, including delivering $109,000 to the defendant, served one and one-half years for the offense, and been deported to Colombia. The victims reportedly wired $1.9 to the conspirators. The defendant also is alleged to have been involved in the receipt of illegal payments from other individuals, in exchange for the granting of immigration benefits:

(A) He received $10,000 from three Colombians, for falsely claiming to DHS that they were witnesses or cooperators, in support of an ongoing narcotics investigation*. This allowed them to gain entry, via Parole,into the United States. There was no such investigation in existence.

(B) He received $6,000, to assist an individual seeking admission to the US; he  falsely claimed that the individual was the dependent of a witness testifying against high-ranking members of a drug trafficking organization.

(C) He improperly received an additional $150,000, airline tickets, liquor, a watch, a diamond ring, and a rifle with a scope, in connection with another matter.

The Miami office of HSI has reportedly a number of individuals under investigation for suspected criminal activity. The former head of the office, the Special Agent-in-Charge, or SAC, was convicted and sentenced for Child Pornography. Senior positions in the Miami office have been declined by members of ICE from other offices, due in part to ongoing corruption investigations there, and morale among staff is reportedly very low.
*The document is known as "DHS Significant Public Benefit Parole Authorization Form."

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