A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer was convicted on multiple counts of bribery, including accepting money and sex in exchange for work authorization papers.
The New Jersey man, Arnaldo Echevarria, worked as a deportation officer and committed the offenses between 2012 and 2014, NJ.com reported. He is charged with making false statements to a jury, harboring an undocumented immigrant, and seven counts of bribery. He was indicted last month.
Echevarria, 39, allegedly accepted up to $75,000 in exchange for getting work authorization for people in the country without proper documentation. He said the people had been granted temporary protected status, which is only available to people who are fleeing armed conflict and other emergency circumstances.
“None of the individuals who bribed Echevarria had actually applied for, or received, temporary protected status,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Echevarria had sex with two women in exchange for help with employment authorization. One of the women became pregnant and refused to get an abortion, although he encouraged her to do so. She had the baby, and Echevarria told her no one could know he was the father. He continued having sex with her after the child was born in exchange for continued assistance with her documentation.
The former ICE officer also allegedly employed his girlfriend, who did not have proper documentation, at a hair salon he owned. He had told immigration officials the business would not employ people in the country illegally. Echevarria paid employees in cash and did not have them complete employment eligibility paperwork, which is used to determine if people can legally work in the U.S.
He faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the seven bribery counts. The other two charges carry maximum penalties of five years and fines of up to$250,000. Echevarria’s attorney said he would likely appeal the case.