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TuesdayMarch 22, 2011

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Elderly Wisconsin Man Charged with Child Sex Exploitation of Minor from Belize

Today a grand jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin returned a one-count indictment against Roland J. Flath for traveling to a foreign country and engaging in and attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor less than 18 years of age.   
               
According to court documents, Flath, 71, of Wisconsin, allegedly traveled to Belize in July 2006 and subsequently sexually molested a minor girl from Belize.  Flath was originally charged by a criminal complaint filed in Wisconsin in October 2010.  He was arrested by the Guatemalan National Civil Police on Feb. 20, 2011, expelled to the United States and arrested in the United States by ICE agents and the U.S. Marshal Service.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse by the Department of Justice. 

Flath faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  Charges against Flath for aggravated assault of a minor are also pending in Belize. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Latino Males Celebrate their ‘Vanidad’ and Enjoy Looking Good

Latino Males Celebrate their ‘Vanidad’ and Enjoy Looking Good

Photo: Antonio Banderas as Suave Latino Man

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Research from Univision Communication is showing us what many already knew – Latino men like to look good from head to toe.  In the study called “Why Latinos Look So Good” we learn that Latin men enjoy pampering themselves from mani-pedis to hair styling all in the name of celebrating their ‘vanidad’.

Chiqui Cartagena of AdAge credits the Latino male with being a ‘metrosexual’ before the term became common place.  And they are very clean with 34% of them showering twice a day versus 16% for non-Hispanic white males.

Not only are Hispanic men using a lot of shampoo they enjoy hair styling products, facial moisturizers and multiple fragrances.  With the majority of Latino males not concerned about the price for these grooming products. 

This study is welcome news for the many marketers seeking growth for their mature grooming product lines.  Hispanic males make up 20% of the total U.S. population. 

Read more at Ad Age →

Castro Says He Hasn’t Held Any Formal Positions in Five Years

Castro Says He Hasn’t Held Any Formal Positions in Five Years

Photo: Fidel and Raul Castro

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Tuesday, Fidel Castro surprised everyone when he said he resigned from all of his official position five years ago.

The “former” head of Cuba’s Communist Party’s statements brought in to question just how much power he still has “behind the scenes”, and how free his brother Raul Castro, 79, has been to make his own decisions.

The 84-year-old Communist leader wrote an opinion piece, in which he said that when he became ill in 2006, “I resigned without hesitation from my state and political positions, including first secretary of the party …  and I never tried to exercise those roles again.” He added that when he began to get better, he continued to stay out of state and party affairs “even though everyone, affectionately, continued to refer to me by the same titles.”

Despite what he wrote in his piece however, on The Communist Party website, Castro is still listed as first secretary, and his brother as second.

His comments come mere weeks before the Communist Party Congress, in which it is expected that a new leader will be named – many assuming it will be Raul.

Executive director of the Washington-based nonprofit Cuba Study group, Thomas Bilbao, said, “I think it’s significant, because if nothing else it’s Fidel Castro sending a clear message that his brother is in charge of the country.”

In 2008, after he was so tremendously sick that he nearly died, Fidel announced he was officially stepping down as president, and his brother – who had been provisionally delegated some of Fidel’s duties in 2006 – was chosen to succeed him by Cuba’s parliament just days later. However, it was never announced that Fidel was stepping down from him position with the party.

Even Havana retiree, Magaly Delgado, 72, was shocked when she heard of Castro’s recent claim.

“It’s incredible. Nobody can believe it. I always thought he was still in charge. He never said he had resigned.”

Though the announcement was surprising and has everyone wondering what this means for the island nation, in his opinion piece, the elder Castro maintained that he would remain “a soldier of ideas, as long as I can think and breathe.”

Read more at Las Vegas Sun →

STUDY:  Older Latino Males do Not Seek Out Treatment for Depression

A new study just presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry shows that older Mexican-America males are getting depressed at the same rate as their white non-Hispanic counterparts but not getting treatment for it.

The research coming out of the University of California, Davis shows that 70% of the Mexican-American men studied didn’t get any treatment for depression compared to 25% of the white elderly male partipants.

The study also shows that whether the Hispanic male spoke English or not, did not matter nor did it matter if they were U.S. born or foreign born – all these men had poor rates of getting treatment for depression.  Even having insurance coverage for the illness didn’t appear to improve treatment rates.

It is important to note that regardless of race or ethnicity the rate of men getting treatment for mental depression is lower then women, due in great part to stigma.

The next phase of the study will be to understand why older Latino men are not seeking out treatment for their depression and what can be done about it. 

Read more at Live Science →

Several Spanish ETA Members Designated as Terrorists by U.S. Government

Several Spanish ETA Members Designated as Terrorists by U.S. Government

Photo: ETA Spanish terrorists

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The Secretary of State has designated Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) members Miguel de Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, also known as Txeroki, and Jose Ignacio Reta de Frutos under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. As a result of the designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which ETA members Aspiazu Rubina or Reta de Frutos have any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them.

Txeroki, an ETA military leader, is currently detained in France facing terrorism charges. A Spanish court has charged him with planning to stage attacks in Valencia to disrupt the 2007 America’s Cup yacht race and for the 2006 attack on the Barajas International Airport in Madrid. Reta de Frutos, a long time ETA member and explosives expert, failed to appear to begin serving an eight year sentence in Madrid. He is currently a fugitive from justice.

ETA, designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997, is responsible for killing more than 800 civilians, police, and military personnel, while injuring thousands since it formally began its campaign of violence in 1968. ETA has primarily used bombing and assassinations, targeting Spanish government officials, security and military forces, politicians, businessmen, judicial figures, journalists, and tourists.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Ancient Rabbit, Largest of Its Kind, Found In Spain

Unearthed at the small island of Minorca, the enormous bunny that lived three to five million years ago was so hefty that it had no enemies, but also couldn’t hop!

Nuralgus rex, dubbed the Minorcan King of the Rabbits weighed in at over 26.4 pounds, almost six times more than most current day rabbits.

“N. rex was a very robust and peculiar rabbit,” project leader Josep Quintana told Discovery News. “Surely he was a very calm and peaceful animal that moved with slow, but powerful, movements.”

The researchers think N. rex spent most of its days peacefully digging, searching for roots and tubers to eat.

“The ancestors of N. rex arrived at Minorca during the Messinian crisis 5.3 million years ago,” Quintana said. “During this geological time, the Mediterranean Sea dried up and the Balearic islands connected with the surrounding mainland (of Europe and Africa), so the proto-Nuralagus rex arrived walking to Minorca.”

Brian Kraatz, an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, said “There is an underlying assumption that rabbits appeared some 40 million years ago and have been perfectly happy to stay just about the same” .

“This new species is interesting in that it’s quite different from what we know of living or fossil rabbits. Aside from its incredibly large size, its hind legs are rather short, not so good for hopping,” Kraatz added, “It’s unclear whether their feet would have been decent good luck charms.”

Image

Read more by HS News Staff →

Undocumented Drives Drunk, Kills Virginia Man, Fans Immigration Fire

Undocumented Drives Drunk, Kills Virginia Man, Fans Immigration Fire

Photo: Carlos Sanchez-Ramos, immigrant drove drunk and killed Paul J. Krouse

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Adding fuel to the immigration fire last week, a Virginia man was killed when his car was forced into oncoming traffic by an intoxicated immigrant from Honduras.

Paul J. Krouse, 54, was killed in a car crash caused by 33-year-old immigrant Carlos Sanchez-Ramos, who was driving while drunk. Sanchez-Ramos has been charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, and other counts following the March 14 incident.

Immigration officials have confirmed that Sanchez-Ramos was in the country illegally, and had in fact been deported to Honduras in 2004. According to Fairfax County records, he was also arrested for driving under the influence in 2007. Fairfax County did not begin fingerprinting all offenders as part of Secure Communities until 2009, so authorities were unaware of his immigration status.

“Now, anyone who is fingerprinted, regardless of race or ethnicity is run through the ICE database,” said Fairfax County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sonny Cachuella.

Secure Communities allows participating counties to check the immigration status of offenders, but it does not allow Fairfax County Sheriff’s deputies to enforce immigration law. However, under the 287(g) federal program, that would change.

Former Herndon town councilman Charlie Waddell, who voted to allow the Herndon police to enforce immigration laws under 287(g) said, “Secure Communities only works once someone has been caught for some other crime and brought to the county jail.”

Read more at Fairfax Times →

Bizarre & Tragic: New Mexico Man Attacks Police with Crucifix, Dies After Being Tasered

Bizarre & Tragic: New Mexico Man Attacks Police with Crucifix, Dies After Being Tasered

Photo: Jerry Perea

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Many locals in Albuquerque, New Mexico said Jerry Perea was turning his life around by finding God after his numerous brushes with the law.  Then it all turned tragic and bizarre yesterday afternoon.

Police answered a distress call at Perea’s mother’s home where she claimed he was out of control.  Police didn’t find him home but located him later riding his bike.  At this point he hit officers with his crucifix.

When the 38-year old Hispanic man couldn’t be subdued he was tasered.  Things turned from bad to worse when he died after being rushed to the hospital. 

Albuquerque Police Department Chief Ray Schultz commented: “He’s described as very large and overweight. We don’t know if he had a heart attack of if he had a medical episode.”

Read more at KOAT →

The Latest in Extreme Trafficking? Woman Stuffs Heroin, Pills, Bags, and Cash in Her Vagina

The Latest in Extreme Trafficking? Woman Stuffs Heroin, Pills, Bags, and Cash in Her Vagina

Photo: Karin Mackaliunas hid 54 bags of heroin in vagina

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In Scranton, Pennsylvania, a woman who was detained by police on suspicion of burglary after crashing her car on Sunday, has now been charged with possession of a controlled substance, after 54 bags of heroin were found in her vagina.

Karin Mackaliunas, 27, was checked for weapons by Officer Nancy Baumann who, during the search, found three bags of heroin on Mackaliunas. As they headed to the police station, Mackaliunas reportedly started squirming around in the back seat. After the two women got involved in a struggle during a more thorough search at the police station, Mackaliunas allegedly asked to speak to the officer in charge.

According to the police report, Mackaliunas told Sergeant Michael Mayer that she had more drugs hidden inside her. She was then taken to the hospital by ambulance and was checked by a doctor.

Police say that 54 bags of heroin, 31 empty bags, eight and a half prescription pills, and $51.22 cash were stuffed into her lady parts.

After the extraction, Mackaliunas was returned to the police station and was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.

First of all, what’s with the empty bags in there? Most women carry a purse, and wouldn’t resort to using that purse to hold EMPTY bags. Second, how is this even possible? How does she even have the square footage for such an inventory?

Read more by HS News Staff →

Presidential Agenda in El Salvador Today and Visit to Grave of Murdered Archbishop Oscar A. Romero

The White House has announced the following agenda for the President and the First Family in the final leg of their South American trip which also includes a visit to the grave of murdered Archbishop Oscar A. Romero:

8:00 AM CST
The First Family departs Santiago, Chile en route San Salvador, El Salvador
           
12:45 PM CST
The First Family arrives in San Salvador, El Salvador at Comalapa International Airport

1:30 PM CST
The President and the First Lady participate in an arrival ceremony at National Palace

1:50 PM CST
The President holds a bilateral meeting with President Funes at National Palace

2:20 PM CST
The President holds an expanded bilateral meeting with President Funes at National Palace

2:55 PM CST
The President and President Funes hold a joint press conference at National Palace

8:10 PM CST
The President and the First Lady attend an official dinner hosted by President Funes

At the conclusion of his visit to Latin America, President Obama will visit the grave of Archbishop Oscar A. Romero the day before the thirty-first anniversary of the violent death of the Archbishop of San Salvador, who was killed on 24 March, 1980.

The current Archbishop of San Salvador, Bishop José Luis Escobar Alas, in breaking the news that President Obama deemed Archbishop Romero one of the “heroes of our continent” and thus believes that the visit is “a global event”, from which people may draw benefit from the very image of Archbishop Romero.

President Obama will visit the crypt housing the remains of the “Santo Romero de America”, as Archbishop Romero is known in Latin America.

In the memo sent to Agenzia Fides, Archbishop Escobar Alas confirmed his presence at the event, as requested by the United States Ambassador in El Salvador. He also expressed his appreciation for the honor that the President of the United States will come and visit the grave of Archbishop Romero, an indefatigable defender of human rights.

Known as “the voice of the voiceless” for having denounced social injustice, military repression and the criminals from the death squads, Archbishop Romero was murdered on the evening of March 24,1980, while celebrating Mass in the Hospital of Divine Providence in San Salvador.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Watch the Promo for Christina Aguilera’s New TV Show (VIDEO)

The new television show ‘The Voice’ will feature Aguilera as one of four “coaches,” who judge performers solely on their voice, “in a kinder/gentler version of Idol.”

“I love that it’s based purely on their voice,” Aguilera says in the commercial, which shows the four judges sitting in the red chairs with their backs to the auditioning singers. Shelton explains that the set-up allows the coaches to not worry about the appearance of the contestants, while Levine counters, “Remember the 70s? There was some sketchy-looking people with some gorgeous voices.”

The 30-year-old entertainer joins Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine on the show that Carson Daly will be hosting!

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Accident Leaves 5 Mexican Soldiers Dead and 24 Others Injured

Accident Leaves 5 Mexican Soldiers Dead and 24 Others Injured

Photo: Mexican Army Truck

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Yesterday a military truck turned over in the Mexican state of Michoacan leaving at least 5 soldiers dead and injuring 24 others. 

The National Defense Secretary was executing a military operation on a Morelia highway when the military truck turned over.  Three Mexican soldiers died on the spot and two others died at the hospital they were taken to.

The rest of the soldiers were airlifted to hospitals in Mexico City to be treated. 

Read more at Wire Update →

Number of Mexicans Leaving the U.S. with Their Vehicles Has Created a Boost to “Legalizaciones”

As the number of job opportunities for both documented and undocumented immigrants decreases, the number of those returning to Mexico is skyrocketing, and this rise helping to keep “legalizaciones” afloat.

When moving back to Mexico, in order for citizens to bring their U.S.-bought vehicles into Mexico for use there, the owner needs to provide Mexican Customs with documented proof that the vehicle is not stolen, is up to Mexican road safety standards, and has not been salvaged. This is where legalization businesses or “legalizaciones” come in.

Businesses like Marcos Cota’s Legalizationes on Crawford Street in Nogales, Arizona run vehicle identification number and title and license information through databases held by government and private facilities to verify that the cars are legal to export.

Cota said he has seen “many, many more people” returning to Mexico – cars in tow – as the downturn of the economy has left fewer jobs for everyone, especially Mexican immigrants. While his customers come from all over, he said most of them are from western areas like Las Vegas and Phoenix, where construction industry jobs are few and far between.

According to a recent report from the Mexican National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), since 2005, the number of Mexicans leaving Mexico has dropped by about two-thirds, from 450,000 to 145,000. The number returning has jumped from 351,000 to 1.1 million in the last five years.

“You see them with their big pickup trucks and a trailer on back loaded up with everything they own,” said Eduardo Sojo, INEGI’s president. “They say they can’t get a job or the police are giving them a hard time and their kids cant get into school, so they decide to go back to Mexico.”

Read more at Nogales International →

Corrupt or Romantic? Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom Divorces Wife so She Can Run for President

Corrupt or Romantic? Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom Divorces Wife so She Can Run for President

Photo: Alvaro Colom and Sandra Torres Split Up

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In a move that appears as a mix of Argentine inspired nepotism, downright corruption, and the ultimate romantic gesture, Alvaro Colom divorces his wife, Sandra Torres, so she can run for president in the upcoming elections.

Colom’s wife (ex-wife) said she would be the governing party candidate later this year, for the September election. Torres has apparently played a large role behind the scenes during her husband’s presidency.

Guatemala’s constitutional court will have the final say on whether Torres—whom critics say already holds more control than her husband—will be allowed to run for office.

The couple were together for 8 years, before Sandra Torres de Colon submitted a divorce petition to the Second Family Court in Guatemala City on March 11 in a civil enforcement proceeding. She had announced her candidacy two days prior.

Guatemala’s constitution prohibits relatives of the nation’s chief executive from running for president.

Constitutional attorney Carlos Molina Mencos said once the divorce has been finalized Sandra Torres will be able to legally seek the presidency.

However, he called the divorce a “mockery” and “immoral.”

Opposition leader Otto Pérez Molina condemned the move as an immoral attempt to manipulate the electoral system. “It is sad that for the love of power, she left the love of her life,” said Zury Rios, a member of the Guatemalan Republican Front Party “One can divorce for many reasons, but for the love of power, is unthinkable.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

White Supremacists March Against Immigration in Southern California

White Supremacists March Against Immigration in Southern California

Photo: Neo-Nazi March in California against immigration

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On Saturday, a group of around 25 military boot-clad white supremacists marched down the streets of Claremont, California, in protest of what they called an “unbridled flow of immigration” into the area.

It should be noted that though some of the marchers’ signs indicated they were protesting all immigration, they claim their march was only in protest of undocumented immigration.

Police officers from a number of departments were on hand as over 200 “counter-demonstrators,” immigrant rights activists, lined the streets and loudly yelled to the marchers, who were carrying a banner with the letters of the National Socialist Movement with a swastika in the middle, that they were racist.

Many of the marchers had shaved heads, with some even dressed in black battle uniforms. Some were shirtless and sported heavy tattoos.

Jeff Hall, southwest regional director of the National Socialist Movement said his group was “concerned” about protecting the border from devastation and drugs.

Though there were very tense moments between the skinheads and the counter-protesters, which included Brown Berets and Raza Unida members, no one was arrested.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Human Rights Experts Studying How Mexico Deals with the Issue of Forced Disappearances

Human Rights Experts Studying How Mexico Deals with the Issue of Forced Disappearances

Photo: Forced Disappearances in Latin America

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The United Nations human rights experts tasked with assisting families determine the fate or whereabouts of disappeared relatives examined over 200 cases during its recent session held in Mexico City, and is now conducting a mission to learn about Mexico’s efforts in dealing with the issue.

During its March 15-18 session, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances studied cases concerning Algeria, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Republic of Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, Georgia, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Yemen.

The five independent human rights experts also reviewed responses from various governments to its letters and appeals, and held meetings with representatives of Japan and Guatemala, as well as consultations with family members of disappeared persons and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

In addition, it examined allegations submitted by NGOs regarding obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and decided to transmit general allegations to various concerned governments.

Since its creation in 1980, the working group has dealt with more than 50,000 cases in 80 countries. By opening channels of communication between the families and governments concerned, it seeks to ensure that individual cases are investigated and to clarify the whereabouts of persons who have disappeared.

The group continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved. Its five expert members serve in their individual capacities, and not as representatives of their governments.

Immediately following its session, the group started an official visit to Mexico to learn about the country’s efforts in dealing with the issue of enforced disappearances. During the March mission, the experts will collect information which may lead to the clarification of outstanding cases of enforced disappearances that occurred in the country.

The UN expert body will examine the phenomenon of enforced disappearance, the status of the investigations of old and recent cases and the steps taken to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearances.

It will also look at what is being done to combat impunity, as well as other issues concerning truth, justice and reparations for victims of enforced disappearances.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Elizabeth NJ Police Officer Charged with Shaking Down Hispanics

Elizabeth NJ Police Officer Charged with Shaking Down Hispanics

Photo: Officer Rocco Malgieri

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Officer Rocco Malgieri would drive around seeking a victim for his next shakedown. The 19-year veteran typically picked out Hispanic looking men.

The officer would pull over the chosen vehicle, usually without any reason. He would then demand between $100- $150 as a bribe for not turning in the victim for being in America undocumented.

Malgieri (42) was arrested and charged with multiple counts of theft by extortion, bribery and participating in a pattern of official misconduct, and seven victims have been interviewed.

Malgieri has been suspended without pay from his $85,228 job and will next appear in court March 30.

“Shaking down anyone is disgraceful and it will not be tolerated,” Romankow said. “We expect all the men and women who wear the badge to respect and honor the commitment to the law. His actions were to the contrary.”

Vanessa Acevedo, an Elizabeth social worker and immigrant advocate, said she fears the alleged actions of Malgieri will undermine trust within the immigrant population for the whole police force.

“If there is an entire sector of the community that is afraid to report a crime, more crime is going to happen as a result,” Acevedo said. “It hurts everybody in the community.”

“You have to wonder why he targeted undocumented immigrants,” she said. “Was it just because they were an easy target, or was it was his own brand of vigilante justice?”

Read more at nj.com →

Government Attorney Sentenced for Taking Bribes from Illegal Aliens for Favorable Treatment

Government Attorney Sentenced for Taking Bribes from Illegal Aliens for Favorable Treatment

Photo: Fake Immigration Documents

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A senior attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was sentenced yesterday morning to 212 months in federal prison for taking nearly one-half million dollars in bribes from immigrants who were promised immigration benefits that would allow them to remain in the United States.

ICE Assistant Chief Counsel Constantine Peter Kallas, 40, of Alta Loma, received the 17⅔-year sentence from United States District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hatter ordered Kallas to pay $296,865 in restitution after fraudulently receiving worker’s compensation benefits.

Following a three-week trial, a federal jury in April 2010 convicted Kallas of three dozen felony counts—conspiracy, six counts of bribery, two counts of obstruction of justice, seven counts of fraud and misuse of entry documents, three counts of aggravated identity theft, nine counts of making false statements to the Department of Labor, four counts of making false statements to obtain federal employee compensation, and four counts of tax evasion.

Kallas has been in a federal jail since August 2008, about two months after he was arrested by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, California. Kallas was arrested after he took a $20,000 bribe from an immigrant during an incident that was captured on casino surveillance cameras and shown to the jury.

The June 2008 bribe was the last in a series of incidents in which Kallas and his wife, Maria, told illegal aliens that Kallas was an immigration official—either an immigration judge or some other type of high-level immigration official—and that Kallas could obtain immigration benefits for the aliens in exchange for bribes.

Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles, stated: “Today’s lengthy sentence fits the significant crimes committed by Mr. Kallas and will undoubtedly deter others planning to abuse government power. Mr. Kallas was entrusted to help immigrants abide by the law, but instead he enabled them in breaking the law by greedily taking advantage of their desperation.”

During a five-year period that ended with his arrest, the Kallases accepted payments from aliens that totaled at least $425,854.

Kallas took bribes from some illegal aliens who were offered “jobs” at companies Kallas and his wife had set up. As part of the scheme, Kallas filed fraudulent labor condition applications with the Department of Labor that falsely claimed the companies had offered employment to the aliens.

On December 16, 2006, Kallas appeared in immigration court and, without any authorization, used his position as an immigration prosecutor to ask a judge to dismiss removal proceedings against an immigrant.

Kallas misused the identities of several real persons by, among things, putting their names on fraudulent documents or on nominee bank accounts used to hide money from the Internal Revenue Service.

In some cases, Kallas attempted to solve immigrants’ problems by simply making their files disappear. When investigators searched the Kallas residence in June 2008, they discovered a hidden floor safe that contained more than $177,000 in cash and two dozen official immigration files.

Kallas also illegally obtained more money through workers compensation fraud and tax evasion, claiming total disability and zero income, even as he was conducting the elaborate bribery and fraud scheme.

Daniel R. Petrole, Acting Inspector General, United States Department of Labor, said: “Today’s sentencing highlights our efforts to investigate fraud against the Department of Labor. The defendant, who is a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorney, used shell companies to falsely petition aliens for employment visas. Moreover, he filed for full federal disability benefits for work-related injuries, yet was receiving thousands of dollars in income from his employment scheme. My office and our law enforcement partners remain committed toward combating these types of crimes.”

According to court documents, the bank records for the Kallases showed that, beyond his salary, approximately $950,000 had been deposited into the couple’s bank accounts since 2000.

Maria Kallas, 41, also of Alta Loma, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering in November 2009. United States District Judge Robert J. Timlin is scheduled to sentence her on May 2.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S.-Brazilian Cooperation to Promote Labor Issues Comes After Presidential Visit

The head of the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) has welcomed an agreement between Brazil and the United States to promote the cooperation of all States in the global efforts to ensure that people have decent employment and that the rights of workers are respected.

“I am extremely pleased to see that cooperation between two great nations is addressing serious employment and social challenges, including the recovery from the jobs crisis, food and fuel price volatility, and rising social tensions,” said Juan Somavia, the ILO Director-General.

The memorandum of understanding signed by US Ambassador Thomas Shannon to Brazil and Brazil’s Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota at the start of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Brazil sets out a series of guidelines under which both governments will promote activities in areas of the ILO’s mandate in countries selected by mutual agreements.

The guidelines include skills development for decent work opportunities; fundamental principles and rights at work; equality of opportunity and treatment at work; occupational safety and health; and social protection.

“I am a firm believer that the more countries share lessons about what works, the more they can adapt home-grown solutions. Brazil and the US, each with their own wealth of experiences, can provide invaluable assistance to countries seeking to move forward in the path of Decent Work and social justice. The ILO will always be there with a helping hand,” said Mr. Somavia.

“From an ILO perspective, South-South and Trilateral Cooperation harness and multiply the impact of our work. By building on the expertise and experience found in countries at various levels of development, we can exchange key policy practices and improve the outcomes for people and the real economy,” he added.

Read more by HS News Staff →



TuesdayMarch 22, 2011