By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law



Catherina Knecht, a/k/a Catherina Rheeder, pleaded guilty to visa fraud and mail fraud in U.S. District Court in Fargo, North Dakota. She will be sentenced on February 12, 2020.

Knecht ran a business, Liberty Immigration & Visas, from her home in Cleveland, ND. Liberty Immigration aided employers seeking to obtain temporary workers under the H-2A visa program. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division uncovered evidence of Knecht engaging in visa fraud. The fraud included fraudulently securing H-2A status for foreign workers under the approved H-2A petitions of certain employers without the knowledge of those employers. Knecht then placed those H-2A workers with a different employer who was not authorized to employ H-2A workers. In the course of doing so, Knecht made materially false statements in both applications to DOL and in petitions to USCIS. Knecht committed mail fraud by submitting those applications via the mail. Knecht also placed foreign workers without authorization to work in the United States with employers and required the employers to pay her directly, telling those employers the workers’ visa paperwork was in progress.

This case is another instance of the consequences of committing fraud. Even if an employer does not commit fraud, it can make a lot of errors in immigration compliance which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you want to know more information on employer immigration compliance, I recommend you read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book I co-authored with Greg Siskind, and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.