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 You are in: Under Secretary for Management > Bureau of Diplomatic Security > News from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security > Bureau of Diplomatic Security: Press Releases > 2006

Diplomatic Security Agents Named 2006 Investigators of the Year

Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC
October 27, 2006

Contact: Kendal Smith

Special Agents Donovan F. Williams and Kendall R. Beels Honored for Major Bust of New York City Sham Marriage and Visa Fraud Ring

Diplomatic Security Special Agents Donovan Williams and Kendall Beels Named 2006 Federal Law Enforcement Foundation Investigators of the Year, Oct. 27, 2006.
Diplomatic Security Special Agents Donovan Williams and Kendall Beels honored with the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation's 2006 Investigator of the Year Award, Oct. 27, 2006.

U. S. State Department Diplomatic Security Special Agents Donovan Williams and Kendall Beels shut down a massive U.S. visa fraud ring operating in the tri-state area of New York City and were awarded as the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation (FLEF) Investigators of the Year. A simple 2004 investigation into a single act of passport fraud became, through the tenacity of Special Agents Williams and Beels, a major visa fraud conspiracy investigation involving some 350 sham marriages between U.S. citizens and Chinese nationals plus a multi-million dollar asset forfeiture.

In 2005, with evidence of a larger conspiracy, Special Agents Williams and Beels resurrected a stalled investigation by developing intermediate information critical to reviving the investigation of the primary target. By February 2006, Williams and Beels had a guilty plea and cooperation agreement from a highly-placed co-conspirator. Through the next months, Williams and Beels culled volumes of data from immigration records in New York, visa application records in U.S. consulates throughout China, and state and city marriage records throughout the United States. Even with that workload, they kept close track of the primary co-conspirators through diligent use of various law enforcement techniques.

On August 23, 2006, nearly all the co-conspirators were arrested in pre-dawn raids conducted across four states and four Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) field office jurisdictions. Williams and Beels drafted the operational plans, coordinated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, briefed over 50 participating law enforcement agents and officers, and executed a flawless arrest sweep of the highly elusive targets. It was the largest arrest operation of the calendar year at the DSS New York Field Office and by far the most successful. Multiple search warrants executed the same day yielded evidence of illicit gains in the millions of dollars. This was a long, complicated, frequently interrupted investigation that agents Williams and Beels picked up, re-energized, and turned into one of the largest case and arrests of 2006.

FLEF was established in 1988 by a group of concerned business leaders who recognize the incalculable contribution law enforcement agents make to our quality of life. Once a year, FLEF recognizes Federal Law Enforcement Officers who successfully conducted major criminal investigations in the New York City metropolitan area. The awards ceremony took place at the New York City Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Friday, October 27, with Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, as guest speaker.

This operation is acknowledged for its national implications by DSS. "Marriage fraud and visa fraud crimes potentially threaten the national security of the United States," said Joe D. Morton, Director of the Diplomatic Security Service. ‘The U.S. visa is one of the most coveted travel documents in the world and foreign nationals who have acquired visas fraudulently to enter the United States could perpetrate further illegal acts to include terrorism. Americans who marry strangers make the United States more vulnerable to terrorism, plain and simple."

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the U.S. Department of State’s law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of the Bureau are responsible for the security of 285 U.S. diplomatic facilities around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel investigate passport and visa fraud, conduct personnel security investigations, and protect the Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States. More information about the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security may be obtained at www.state.gov/m/ds.

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