A former Allston (Boston) man, an undocumented Brazilian, was sentenced this Tuesday, January 23, in federal court for, according to the US District Attorney "knowingly harboring illegal aliens and bribing an immigration official."
United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations in New England; and Steven Mocsary, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility for the Eastern Region, announced that José Neto, 40, formerly of 33 Blaine Street in Allston, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Morris E. Lasker to five years in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release.
In addition, a multifamily residence in Allston where Neto previously resided has been ordered forfeited to the United States. Upon completion of his term of imprisonment, Neto faces deportation to his native Brazil.
On May 10, 2006, a trial jury convicted Neto of knowingly harboring illegal aliens. Prior to the trial, on April 3, 2006, Neto had pled guilty to charges of bribing an immigration official, inducing illegal aliens to remain in the country and having a pattern or practice of knowingly employing illegal aliens. The sentence imposed by the court reflects both Neto's trial conviction and guilty plea.
Neto was among approximately 700 suspected foreign nationals who were directed to report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the wake of an investigation into the fraudulent sale of identity records.
When Neto reported to the ICE office, he offered to pay the interviewing agent a bribe to assist Neto and his wife with their immigration status. The ICE agent, operating undercover, arranged to meet Neto at a nearby mall.
Neto paid the agent US$ 20,000 in cash for Green Cards (i.e. documentation for legal permanent residency) for himself and his wife.
In subsequent meetings, between October 2004 and March 2005, Neto paid the undercover ICE agent more than US$ 147,000 in additional bribes, mostly for Green Cards but some to obtain the release of individuals from ICE custody.
At the time of Neto's arrest, ICE Agents interviewed over 50 employees of a company that Neto operated, Spectro Cleaning Services, all of whom were identified by ICE as unauthorized aliens.
Evidence presented during the three-day trial proved that, between 2003 and 2005, Neto knowingly harbored illegal aliens from Brazil in an apartment he leased in Agawam and in a house he owned in Allston. Neto also employed some of the individuals he harbored and offered to sell others identification documents.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Levenson in Sullivan's Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.