United Nations Employee and Two Others Charged in Wide-Ranging Immigration Fraud

NEW YORK, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Charges were unsealed today against Vyacheslav Manokhin, a United Nations (U.N.) employee working out of U.N. headquarters in Manhattan, Vladimir Derevianko, and Kamiljan Tursunov for carrying out a scheme to provide illegal entry into the United States for numerous non-U.S. citizens (Aliens) announced Michael J. Garcia, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Salvatore Dalessandro , the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Gordon S. Heddell, the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

The scheme involved fraudulent documents, some of which were prepared on United Nations letterhead, that requested U.S. Entry Visas so that Aliens could attend conferences in the United States that either did not exist or that the Aliens did not attend. Manokhin and Derevianko were arrested earlier today. Tursunov has been in ICE custody since July 25 , for failing to appear at an immigration proceeding; Tursunov will be brought to Manhattan in connection with the criminal charge in the complaint. According to the complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

From April 2005 to the present, Manokhin and Derevianko worked together to prepare documents that were submitted to immigration officials and other entities around the world in support of requests by various Aliens for U.S. entry visas. Manokhin used his position at the U.N. to make it appear as though the U.N. supported the visa applications, so that the Aliens could enter the United States -- purportedly to participate in conferences organized by non-governmental organizations, by the U.N., or by entities associated with the U.N. Many of the conferences were to be held at U.N. headquarters in Manhattan. In most instances, the Alien was successful in obtaining a visa and entering the United States .

For example, one document, submitted in support of an entry visa for Tursunov and another individual, was prepared on U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) letterhead; purported to be signed by a non-existent UNDP official named " Leonardo Brackett "; and included as a contact Manokhin's telephone number at U.N. headquarters. When asked by a caller about the visa application, Manokhin stated that he was an assistant to "Brackett," and falsely confirmed that Tursunov had been invited to come to the United States for a U.N. conference. Tursunov later admitted to federal agents that he paid $15,000 to a person in Uzbekistan for his U.S. entry visa; that his (Tursunov's) visa application suggested that he was coming to the United States to attend a conference; and that, in fact, he (Tursunov) did not attend the conference and had no intention of doing so. Rather, Tursunov admitted, he entered the United States , moved to Florida, and has been living there for over two years. Manokhin himself admitted to a U.N. investigator that he had allowed Derevianko to use his (Manokhin's) U.N. telephone number as a contact number on various immigration documents and that, at Derevianko's request, Manokhin agreed to state that visa applicants were legitimate U.N. conference attendees in the event that he (Manokhin) received any inquiries.

Manokhin, Derevianko, and Tursunov are each charged with conspiracy to commit fraud with regard to immigration documents. Derevianko is also charged with one count of making false statements to a federal immigration official.

Manokhin and Derevianko are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin N. Fox . Tursunov is expected to appear in Manhattan federal court at a later date.

Manokhin, 45, is a resident of Greenwich, Conn., and a citizen of the Russian Federation. Derevianko, 44, is a resident of New Jersey. Tursunov, 44, is a resident of Florida. If convicted of the charges in the complaint, Manokhin and Tursunov each face a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, and Derevianko faces a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years.

ICE and DOL continue to investigate this case. The U.S. Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight assisted on this matter.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Farbiarz and Iris Lan are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice