Friday, December 21, 2007

Immigration employee sentenced


BROOKLYN (AP) — A former federal immigration employee was sentenced Thursday to two and a half years in prison for his part in a Brooklyn-linked phony green card scam that charged immigrants up to $16,000 each for marriages that would let them stay in the United States.

Philip Browne, a former district adjudication officer with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence M. McKenna in Manhattan.

Prosecutors said the conspiracy made more than $1 million for the scam's organizers.

The sentence followed guilty pleas in September by Browne and his sister, Beverly Mozer-Browne. The sister is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 3.

The brother and sister were among 28 people charged in the fraud. Of those, 26 pleaded guilty, one was convicted by a jury and charges are pending against one.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said Browne, 41, "sold his government office for personal gain," betraying the trust of the public, honest fellow employees and immigrants who followed the rules.