A restaurateur in Oregon has been charged with E-2 visa fraud and forced human labor by a federal court, following an investigation. Paul Jumroon, also known as Veraphon Phatanakitjumroom, has been charged with one count each of US visa fraud conspiracy, forced labor and submitting a false income tax return.
Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment:
The US E2 Treaty Investor Visa and E1 Treaty Trader visa schemes have been enormously successful and have enabled overseas nationals whose Country is on the list of eligible Countries to live and work in the US. Abuses of the E2 visa system we believe are very rare.
The number of work visa and business visa related options are somewhat limited. The only other options for business people are likely to be the L1A intra-company transfer visa for executives and managers, and the EB5 immigrant investor program that requires an investment of at least US$500,000. Similarly, the options for skilled workers are somewhat limited. The only visas available in most cases are the L1 visa, E2 Visa, E1 Visa, H1B visa and possibly the B1 in lieu of H1B Visa.
The charges were filed on January 24, 2018 at the US District Court in Portland. Jumroon is expected to take a plea deal sometime in February. The E-2 visa charges come as President Trump looks to block Canadian and Mexican entrepreneurs from accessing the coveted E-2 visa by abolishing the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Cases of E-2 visa fraud are likely to provoke the President to further tighten US visa restrictions as he looks to stamp out visa fraud.
E2 visas obtained under false pretences
According to Jumroon’s case file, starting in June 2012 and continuing up to October 2013, “he did knowingly provide and obtained, and attempt to provide and obtain, the labor and services” of a person identified only as “P.T.”
Mr Jumroon allegedly used means of serious harm and threats of violence toward P.T., according to court documents. He is also accused of abusing and threatening to abuse US law in an attempt to “make P.T. believe that if he did not comply with his demands, he would be subjected to serious harm.”
Meanwhile, starting in 2011 and continuing right up to August 2015, Jumroon and several acquaintances, known and unknown, did “knowingly and intentionally conspire and agree with each other and with other parties to receive E-2, nonimmigrant visas for entry into the United States while knowing that the visas had been obtained by means of deception.”
The E2 Treaty Investor nonimmigrant visa program
The E-2 nonimmigrant visa program entitles nationals of treaty countries to US entry, provided that they invest a significant amount of money into a US business and create jobs for American workers, in accordance with rules laid out by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Jumroon, and other unnamed defendants, are accused of filing seven different DS-160 applications, each containing false claims and statements. The dubious documents were submitted in an attempt to obtain E-2 visas for Thai citizens so that they could enter the US.
It’s understood that the charging document filed against Jumroon only uses the initials of perpetrators associated with case. In one of the E-2 visa applications, it’s claimed that “W.N. purchased 50% of Somjai LLC, doing business as Curry in a Hurry, after investing $65,000.
Somjai LLC is no longer trading according to records held by the Corporation Division for the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office. The company was registered in 2007, but lost its active status in December 2016, with Jumroon listed as the ‘registered agent.’
In another E-2 visa application, W.N. was named as the owner of Somjai LLC and stated that Somjai LLC would cover the cost of travel to the US for two separate people.
A further application claimed that “K.N. had purchased 50% of Vilaivan LLC, doing business as Teriyaki Thai Restaurant, by investing $60,000. According to records held by the Washington State Department of Revenue, Teriyaki Thai is still actively trading.
The case is currently ongoing and is being prosecuted by attorneys assigned to the US Attorney’s Office in Oregon and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
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