Three Armenians detained for visa fraud in New York
Three Armenians were charged for participating in the multi-year visa fraud scheme in New York, as a result of which Armenian citizens illegally came to the United States.
Among those arrested are Stella Boyadzhan (47 years), Hrachya Atoyan (30 years) and Diana Grigoryan (41 year), says Department of Justice website.
Women were charged with 15 clauses, including visa fraud, fraud conspiracy, and the illegal importation of foreigners into the United States. Boyadzhan and Grigoryan are also accused of money laundering, and Boyadzhan is charged with theft of personal data.
The scheme was based on the deception of federal programs to support unique creativity, involving the issuance of C-3 visas. Fraudsters falsified announcements and information about upcoming dance concerts, and represented their clients as dancers who applied for C-3 visas, allowing temporary stay in the US for members of foreign art groups.
Boyadzhan headed an international fraudulent network, whose members turned out visa fraud schemes aimed at getting Armenian citizens into the US, deceiving the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and providing her with documents that the Armenians who applied for a visa were members of the folk dance collectives, and therefore had the right to C-3 visas. The non-immigrant C-3 visa allows foreign nationals to temporarily enter the United States to demonstrate or teach creative activities that are culturally unique. An employer or sponsoring organization in the United States must submit a relevant application to USCIS for a nonimmigrant worker, along with documentation confirming that planned performances in the United States are culturally unique.
Boyadjan led a non-profit organization called Big Apple Music Awards Foundationwhich applied to USCIS for issuing visas to Armenians who were not really related to dancing.
Clients scammers paid them from 3000 to 15 000 dollars for the opportunity to apply for a creative visa. In addition to invitations, clients were given a photo session in traditional Armenian costumes, so that they looked like real dancers, and also trained them on how to properly answer questions during a visa interview.
Some of the Armenians who entered the United States in this way remained illegally in the United States after the expiry of the visa.
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