Barber Charged in Green Card Scheme
By Staff Reporter of the Sun
A federal immigration agent and a Queens barber have been charged with processing green cards for immigrants in exchange for bribes, federal prosecutors said today.
The immigration officer, Jose Gomez, was accepting thousands of dollars for official green cards that he processed out of a U.S. Customs and Immigration Service office in Long Island, according to federal court papers filed in the Eastern District of New York. The barber, Farid Bouchaib of Astoria, acted as a middleman, authorities said.
Both were arrested in front of Mr. Gomez's house in East Elmhurst Wednesday night and arraigned yesterday, authorities said.
An undercover agent helped to bring the scheme to light by wearing a wire to meetings in parked cars in Queens and inside Mr. Bouchaib's Astoria barber shop, the court papers said. At the meetings, the agent brought the two men cash that eventually totaled $12,000 in exchange for immigration forms.
During the last meeting, on Wednesday, the immigration officer and the barber met with the undercover agent in a car parked outside of Mr. Gomez's house, where they discussed the green card and the agent handed over a final $2,500, according the complaint.
As Mr. Gomez got out of the car, he was then arrested, authorities said.