When U.S. Citizenship and Immigration officer Jovany Perez saw “M.O.” at his federal citizenship office in April, he saw a woman trying to gain citizenship through a faux marriage.
And, Perez saw a vulnerable target for sexual advances and extortion.
For that extortion, the 34-year-old Perez will serve four years in prison. The Miami man was sentenced Friday after he filed a guilty plea on July 26 to receiving a bribe while a public official.
As the official adjudicating M.O.’s immigration application, Perez held power over her immigration status. According to various court documents, he wielded that power by telling M.O. he knew her marriage was a fraud, but he could help her if she met him away from the USCIS office on Northwest 183rd Street.
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The first meeting, in a restaurant parking lot, occurred later that day and featured Perez fondling M.O.’s breasts, exposing himself and telling her he was the “ultimate decision maker” in her case. M.O. declined Perez’s request for car sex and decided to make Perez somebody else’s case.
She contacted Homeland Security.
Over the next two meetings, Homeland Security got audio and video confirmation of Perez’s activities. He laid out a plan in which he’d direct M.O. on a statement to help her citizenship application and he would provide his own official statement helping her permanent residency application. Perez’s cost for his help: $2,000.
Homeland Security agents arrested Perez after the meeting in which he took the money.