Man accused of defrauding undocumented immigrants arrested

Following an investigation by the FBI and ICE, federal authorities in Sacramento arrested Helaman Hansen for fraud, conspiracy and defrauding immigrants.

Hansen is accused of operating a fraudulent program that promised undocumented adults U.S. citizenship through adoption, charging up to $$10,000 for the service.

According to the Department of JusticeHansen and several of his co-conspirators scammed approximately 500 undocumented immigrants by selling them "memberships" in his "Migration Program."

Once they were "members" of the program, they were assured that they could obtain U.S. citizenship within one year of being adopted by a U.S. citizen. Later, they increased the time to two years.

The court records indicate that Hansen and his co-conspirators operated this scam in California and other states between October 2012 and January 2016 using various organizations, including Americans Helping America (AHA).

The agency promoted adoptions, which are legal, but are generally done in special circumstances, such as family estate planning or to assist in the care of a disabled adult.

An adult adoption cannot be used for immigration purposes.

Immigration law requires that the adoption process be finalized before an alien child turns 16 in order to obtain immigration benefits. There are some exceptions, under which the child's adoption age may be extended for an additional two years, but before the child turns 18. There are also other requirements.

If convicted, Hansen faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Victims of this scam should call the FBI at 916-977-2479.