A Tongan American, Dr. Hilamani Hansen, aged 63, has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges in connection with an immigration adoption scheme he set up that promised to grant American citizenship to those who are successful in being adopted.
The California entrepreneur was arrested and charged with 12 counts of fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by obtaining money from an illegal immigration scheme.
Dr. Hansen is being remanded in custody at a Sacramento prison.
He continues to advocate his innocence, claiming that he worked for many years to help those who have come to the United States to achieve their dream of becoming citizens.
The FBI arrested Dr. Hansen last week after investigating him for over a year in co-operation with the Department of Homeland Security. The Federal Police brought the charges against him.
In his first appearance before a Judge of the Circuit Court in Sacramento, Dr. Hansen pleaded not guilty, but is due to reappear in court again this week.
Most if not all of Dr. Hansen’s clients are those who overstayed their visas.
The FBI has revealed that Dr. Hansen has allegedly cheated over 500 people from different areas of the US, and is alleged that more than $500,000 has been paid him for his services.
The immigration fraud by a company belonging to Dr. Hansen is believed by authorities to be “one of a kind”, and none of those he brought in to the adoption program has gotten any success with obtaining citizenship.
Americans Helping America is a company Dr. Hansen started to “help educate those with visa problems” on how they could manage to settle in to American society, and become citizens.
The adoption program is not only for those under age 16, as the normal in adoption, but also adults.
A huge fee is paid to Dr. Hansen by these prospective adoptees, but as yet there has not been any positive results with his efforts in getting these people adopted.
Payments of $7000 by clients was the normal fee for work done by Dr. Hansen’s company, and a commission of $1500 was paid to those who brought in clients.
The FBI seized documents from Dr. Hansen’s office, and information from his computers, that included names of people put up for adoption, payment records, appeal letters for adoption, and online money transactions, as well as signatures of applicants.
During his interrogation Dr. Hansen admitted that what he was doing was not according to US Laws but claimed that it was in alignment with laws from the United Nations.