A Chula Vista man pleaded guilty to immigration fraud Thursday for illegal, self-enriching actions he took in his former role as an executive for companies that provide airline mechanic staffing services.
Eleno “Max” Quinteros Jr., 45, admitted in San Diego federal court to making false statements in support of legal permanent resident petitions for dozens of the firms’ employees, who performed heavy maintenance on aircraft at a variety of locations nationwide.
Quinteros will face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at his sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 6.
As vice president of operations of the two companies, Quinteros was responsible for recruiting Mexican airline mechanics to work in the United States and for helping them obtain work visas, court documents state.
Quinteros agreed to help at least 85 of the recruits pursue legal permanent residency in exchange for substantial — and unlawful — fees, according to prosecutors.
Employers are prohibited by law from demanding payment for their fees, including those paid to attorneys, in connection with such applications.
In his plea agreement, Quinteros admitted that he falsely claimed to have received no payments from the mechanics in question, when in fact he had demanded and collected as much as $567,000 from them.
Some of that money was paid to attorneys assisting with the applications, and the rest was pocketed by Quinteros himself, according to prosecutors.
“Legal permanent residency is not for sale,” acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson said.
“This office is dedicated to fighting immigration fraud and prosecuting those who hawk lawful immigration status for their own personal financial gain.”
–City News Service
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