Attorney Working For Immigration Agency Arrested For Taking Bribes From Prospective Immigrants

LAWFUEL – A senior attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was arrested today after allegedly taking a $20,000 bribe from an immigrant seeking documentation to remain in the United States.

ICE Assistant Chief Counsel Constantine Peter Kallas, 38, and his wife, Maria Kallas, 39, both of Alta Loma, were arrested this afternoon by special agents with ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They were arrested at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, where they allegedly accepted a bribe payment from an immigrant. The couple is expected to make their initial court appearance tomorrow afternoon in United States District Court in Santa Ana.

Following the couple’s arrest, agents from ICE OPR and the FBI executed a search warrant at the couple’s home. According to the search warrant affidavit, the Kallases received thousands of dollars from illegal aliens and legal permanent residents (“green card” holders) in exchange for immigration benefits. The affidavit states that the couple used two companies they had set up – Botno Inc. and Mississippi Valley Consulting Inc. – to file employment petitions with the Department of Labor and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“The egregious acts of corruption alleged in this case are extremely disturbing to those of us who have sworn to serve the United States,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “As a law enforcement official, Mr. Kallas abused his position in the Department of Homeland Security simply to line his own pockets.”

Kallas has been with ICE since June 1998, but he has been on unpaid leave since January 2007.

A review of the couple’s bank records show that, beyond Constantine Kallas’ salary, approximately $950,000 has been deposited in the couple’s bank accounts since 2000, according to the affidavit.

ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility has identified 45 illegal aliens and two legal permanent residents who appear to have each paid thousands of dollars to the Kallases to obtain immigration benefits, according to the affidavit.

The Kallases were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, bribery, making false statements and making a false statement in an immigration application. A criminal complaint in the case is expected to be filed tomorrow morning.

An criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

The case against the Kallases was investigated by ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Raymond O. Aghaian

(951) 276-6930

Release No. 08-089

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