A Watchung, New Jersey couple admitted they participated in a scheme to submit fraudulent applications for legalization on behalf of illegal aliens who were not eligible.
Omeca Best, 50, and Jean Weche, 42, of Watchung, New Jersey, each pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Mary L. Cooper to an Information charging them with making false statements with respect to material facts in applications and documents required by immigration laws and regulations.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in Trenton federal court:
From May 2004 to August 2009, Best and Weche participated with others in a scheme to submit fraudulent documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to obtain legalization for ineligible aliens under certain class action lawsuits that arose in the wake of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
The Act granted amnesty for undocumented aliens who entered the United States before 1982 and resided continuously in the U.S. after that point.
As a result of the lawsuits, aliens could apply for legalization, even after the original amnesty period closed in May of 1988, for another defined period of time.
As part of the scheme, Best and Weche recruited aliens they knew were ineligible for legalization, then forwarded applications they knew contained false information to another individual who submitted them to immigration services. The defendants also provided documentation to the ineligible aliens to serve as fictitious “proof” of their eligibility.
Best – who at the time of the conduct was an employee of the Department of Justice, Executive Office of Immigration Review – and Weche admitted that they received approximately $3,000 for each false application.
The charge to which Best and Weche pleaded guilty carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for November 19, 2010.