Immigration Officer Faces a Long Stretch
SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - An immigration officer was convicted Friday of taking bribes to grant immigration benefits; he and his wife were also convicted of witness tampering.
Billy Louis Nelms Sr., 54, of Los Angeles, was convicted of felony counts of conspiracy to commit bribery and defraud the United States, bribery, conspiracy to witness tamper, and witness tampering, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
His wife, Sokhon Nelms, 60, was convicted of conspiracy to witness tamper and witness tampering.
Nelms faces up to 95 years in federal prison. His wife could be sentenced to up to 60 years.
Ironically, Nelms worked in the Fraud Detection and National Security division of the immigration service when he took the bribes, the U.S. attorney said in a statement.
His typical deal was to take $5,000 from a Cambodian immigrant, for which he would stamp documents granting temporary legal residence in the United States, prosecutors said.
"The evidence at trial showed that following Mr. Nelms's original indictment in this case for bribery and defrauding the United States in June 2013, Mr. Nelms and Mrs. Nelms tampered with two of the witnesses identified in the original indictment. On one occasion, with Mr. Nelms present, Ms. Nelms told a witness not to speak to anyone," the U.S. attorney said in the statement.