Immigration agent who took cash bribes and sex gets prison
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer convicted of accepting cash bribes and sex in exchange for employment authorization documents was sentenced on Tuesday to seven years in prison.
Arnaldo Echevarria, of Somerset, was convicted in March of bribery, making false statements and harboring an undocumented immigrant.
Attorney Michael Koribanics said Echevarria took full responsibility for his actions in court. He was reviewing whether to appeal the conviction.
Echevarria received $75,000 in bribes from immigrants not in the U.S. legally in exchange for employment authorization documents from 2012 to 2014, prosecutors said, and in one instance he demanded and received sex.
He also was convicted of concealing his girlfriend’s immigration status and employing her in his hair salon while lying to ICE officials. He paid his girlfriend and other employees in cash to avoid paperwork, prosecutors said.
Echevarria was given permission by ICE in December 2012 to open a hair salon in West Orange after he certified the salon wouldn’t conflict with his job and he wouldn’t employ people who were in the country without legal permission. But prosecutors say he had his girlfriend, who he knew was in the country illegally, manage the salon.
Prosecutors say Echevarria falsely stated the people who paid him had been granted temporary protected status, which is meant to allow people from countries experiencing environmental disasters, armed conflicts or other extraordinary conditions to stay in the United States.