A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
FORMER MIDWAY AIRPORT CUSTOMS OFFICER SENTENCED TO 46 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR RECEIVING BRIBES FROM RESTAURANT EMPLOYEES
CHICAGO — A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervisor at Midway International Airport was sentenced today to 46 months in federal prison for taking bribes totaling at least $28,500 to allow foreign employees of now-closed restaurants in Chicago and Downers Grove and their spouses to extend their stays in the United States.
The defendant, William Mann, received approximately $1,500 from at least 19 restaurant employees and their spouses to alter a law enforcement database and provide false immigration and travel documents showing that the restaurant workers and their spouses had just entered the United States and were eligible to legally stay in the country for another year.
Mann, 51, of Munster, Ind., was ordered to begin serving his sentence on Oct. 28 by U.S. District Judge Blanche M. Manning, who imposed the sentence in Federal Court in Chicago. Judge Manning also granted a preliminary order requiring Mann to forfeit $28,500 in bribe proceeds.
Mann pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy, three counts of bribery, and three counts of immigration fraud, which were contained in an indictment that was unsealed in June 2010. A co-defendant, Rogerio Charu, part owner and general manager of the former Sal E Carvao restaurant, which had locations in Chicago, Downers Grove and Schaumburg, was indicted for allegedly conspiring with and aiding and abetting Mann. Charu, whose last know residence was in Downers Grove, remains a fugitive who is currently believed to be in Brazil.
The sentence was announced by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General in Chicago and the DHS Office of Professional Responsibility, Northeast.
According to court documents, in May 2005, Mann conspired to falsify the immigration records of restaurant employees to make it appear as though they were lawfully in the United States.
Mann admitted that restaurant employees and their spouses paid him approximately $1,500 each, by either handing him the money personally or by passing the money to him through another individual.
The same employees also provided their passports to Mann, who had taken an Immigration Form I-94 admission stamp from the CBP’s secure storage room at Midway Airport. Mann placed fraudulent I-94 admission stamps on the I-94 forms and placed those forms into each of the employees’ passports and wrote fraudulent exit dates next to the stamps.
After fraudulently altering the employees’ passports, Mann returned to Midway Airport and accessed the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS.)
Once logged on to the TECS database, Mann fraudulently altered the employees’ immigration records to make it appear as though they had legally entered the United States on flights arriving after a certain date, when, in reality, they had been in the United States several months to several years prior to that date.
He also changed their required departure dates to a later date, making it appear to law enforcement and immigration officials that the employees and their spouses were legally present in the United States when, in reality, they had already overstayed their legal admission time and were subject to deportation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Grohman.
The charges again Charu are not evidence of guilt. He continues to be presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.