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Former U.S. Foreign Service Officer Sentenced in Visa Fraud

A former U.S. visa chief in Vietnam has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for accepting more than $3 million in bribes in exchange for visas for entry into the U.S.

Michael T. Sestak, a former U.S. foreign service officer, was sentenced Friday in federal court in Washington.

He pleaded guilty in November 2013 to participating in a conspiracy to create and submit roughly 500 fraudulent applications for non-immigrant visas to the United States. Prosecutors say Sestak collected more than $3 million in proceeds, which were laundered through China into Thailand.

Sestak was the non-immigrant visa chief in the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City from August 2010 to September 2012. Under the conspiracy, applicants paid $15,000 to $70,000 for visas.

Three others have pleaded guilty.

“As a Foreign Service Officer, Michael Sestak should have been upholding his responsibilities to the United States, not illegally cashing in by collecting over $3 million in bribes to short-circuit our visa process,” acting U.S. Attorney Vincent Cohen said in a statement. “Because of this defendant’s selfish greed, nearly 500 foreign nationals were able to enter the United States without the proper screening. This sentence reflects the seriousness of his corrupt conduct.”