Lawyer charged with defrauding immigrants

An American lawyer has been placed under arrest and charged with defrauding immigrants from the Caribbean and other nations, according to the United States Department of Justice. 63-year-old Helaman Hansen was placed under arrest after a 13-count indictment was returned by a US federal grand jury charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud while operating a fake adult adoption program targeting undocumented immigrants.

Court documents from between October 2012 and January this year reveal that Hansen and his associates made use of a number of entities, including Americans Helping Americans, to sell memberships for a supposed migration program to members of immigrant communities. The main feature of the program was the false claim that US citizenship could be gained by adult immigrants if they were legally adopted by someone already in possession of citizenship, in addition to completing a number of other tasks.

Memberships in the program were initially sold for $150; however, this amount grew and ended up being as high as $10,000. “The indictment returned today alleges a particularly predatory and manipulative type of fraud that takes advantage of the hopes and dreams of undocumented immigrants to extract fees based on false promises,” notes Eastern District of California US Attorney Benjamin B Wagner.

“The adoption of adult aliens is not a legitimate path to US citizenship,” Wagner explained, adding: “No one should pay fees to anyone making false promises of citizenship through adult adoption.