US: Former Immigration Officer Convicted of Taking Bribes

A 54-year-old former immigration officer at the Santa Ana Federal Building, Billy Louis Nelms, was convicted of receiving bribes from Cambodian immigrants seeking temporary legal status in the US between 2005 and 2008, according to the US Justice Department.

According to Southern California Public Radio, prosecutors say he offered stamped documents in return for about $5,000 in cash. Bruce Riordan, the assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, said, “The evidence showed that during that time, as part of the scheme, the Cambodian immigrants were promised permanent legal status."

US Immigration & Customs Enforcement officersThe former officer conspired with his wife, 60-year-old Sokhon Nelms, who was convicted on charges of witness tampering. According the US Justice Department she directed a witness not to testify.

He could be sentenced up to 95 years in prison, while she faces a maximum sentence of 60 years.

The case was uncovered through an investigation directed by the Department of Homeland Security.