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Monday, November 23, 2009

Ex-ICE Officer Pleads Guilty to Immigration Fraud

Ex-ICE Officer Pleads Guilty to Immigration Fraud
The Sun-Times Media - November 23, 2009

Chicago, IL - A former federal deportation officer pleaded guilty Monday to obstruction of justice and producing a fraudulent immigration document for an immigrant facing deportation. Thomas P. Randell, 37, of Chicago, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer from 2000-09, admitted that he destroyed the immigration files of two aliens to interfere with administration of immigration laws, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. In a separate scheme, he admitted to fraudulently providing an immigration stamp conveying temporary legal resident status to an alien eligible for deportation. Randell, indicted in early 2008, remains free on bond while awaiting sentencing, which U.S. District Judge Wayne Anderson scheduled for March 25. He faces up to 20 years in prison for obstruction and 15 years for producing a false ID document, plus a $250,000 fine on each count, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office. According to a plea agreement, the government anticipates Randell's advisory sentencing range is 27 to 33 months in prison. As a deportation officer, he was responsible for supervising aliens who had been ordered deported, but were not in ICE custody, the release said. Randell met one alien in 1998 while serving as an Immigration and Naturalization Service detention officer. That alien was subsequently released and a friendship between the two developed, the release said. In 2002, when the alien received a letter from INS stating his deportation was imminent, he asked Randell to help block it and the deportation of an acquaintance who had received the same letter. Both were Iraqi citizens of Assyrian descent. In response to the request, Randell offered to make the complete master immigration files of both aliens "disappear" in a way that could not be traced, the release said. The alien accepted and in early 2003 Randell obtained the files and aided in shredding them, the release said. Randell also admitted that in June 2005 he fraudulently placed an Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunication stamp in the Hungarian passport of a third alien, a legal permanent resident whose “green card” had expired, the release said. The stamp provides the same evidence of legal immigration status as a green card. An investigation determined the alien was eligible deportation due to state felony convictions. Randell admitted he obtained an ADIT stamp from an unspecified Homeland Security employee, the release said. He also admitted to a previous instance of providing a stamp to that alien in 2003.

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