Brothers guilty in fraudulent visas case

April 4, 2009 4:43:53 AM PDT
A federal jury found twin brothers guilty of conspiring to obtain fraudulent work visas for nearly 90 Indian nationals in exchange for cash, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Friday. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Alberto and Bernardo Pena, 39, of Brownsville were found guilty on all 16 counts.

The jury found that the brothers had encouraged 87 people from the Indian state of Gujarat to enter the United States on temporary visas. They knew that the Indian nationals did not intend to work for the company used to get their visas and did not intend to return to India after the 10-month visas expired, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson.

The Pena twins, who will be sentenced on June 26, face a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 in connection with the conspiracy conviction and up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine in connection with each of 14 counts of encouraging and inducing illegal immigration.

Additionally, Bernardo Pena, faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine for money laundering concealment, and Alberto Pena faces up to 10 years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine for violating the money laundering spending statute.

Both defendants also potentially face a forfeiture judgment of up to $1.8 million.

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