FBI probing visa racket at US Embassy

FBI probing visa racket at US Embassy

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has launched a probe into reports of a multi-million dollar U.S visa racket at the United States Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana.

Reports indicate that over the past few months FBI agents have been interviewing various persons attached to the Georgetown embassy. It is alleged that a former Consul Officer who was based at the embassy was behind a visa racket scheme that also involved a number of Guyanese.
The former Consul Officer is back in the United States as the investigation continues.

On Wednesday, Charge d’ Affaires at the Embassy, Thomas Pierce told News Source that while he is aware of media and other reports of the alleged visa racket, he could not offer any comment on the issue. Asked whether he could confirm that the embassy is subject of an FBI probe into visa racket allegations, Mr. Pierce said he could not offer any comment on that question either.

The alleged visa racket is being described by persons familiar with the probe, as an elaborate scheme which allegedly involved the consul officer and a number of locals who would meet at various city restaurants and hang out bars to facilitate transactions. Reports state that persons were being asked to pay as much as US$40,000 to be guaranteed a visitor’s visa.
The usual fee for a US Visitor’s visa application is US$150. There are reports that the investigators believe he was acting with other persons at the embassy in Georgetown and they have been pressing for names of the other persons who might have been involved.

It is also being reported that the FBI is paying close attention to the man’s money trail and the businessmen he met and spent time with while on duty in Guyana. It is believed that the visa scam may have netted hundreds of thousands of U.S dollars and the scam is also being linked to a Georgetown businessman who was killed at a city hotel.

It is unclear whether the man’s murder is related to the racket or his alleged involvement in its operations. Earlier this year, a Guyanese man was arrested and charged in a visa fraud case after it was discovered that he was allegedly offering persons visas for as much as US$20,000. He also pretended to be a staff of the U.S Embassy.

The last time a major visa racket rocked the US Embassy in Georgetown was in 2000 when a senior US consul officer was linked to another multimillion dollar visa fraud scheme. That official was put on trial in the US and found guilty. His involvement in the racket and the involvement of several local high profile Guyanese businessmen, police officers and officials is the subject of a new book titled “The Thomas Carroll Affair”.
The Thomas Carroll visa racket has been described as the biggest visa racket in US State Department history.

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