On Thursday, it was announced that an Elk Grove resident had been sentenced to prison for operating an elaborate adult-adoption fraud scheme that targeted undocumented aliens. 65-year-old Helaman Hansen was sentenced to 20 years in prison and has been ordered to pay $576,264 in restitution. Hansen was found guilty on May 9, 2017 after an 11-day trial. The defendant was found guilty of 12 counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and two counts of encouraging and inducing illegal immigration for private financial gain.
Evidence presented at the trial shows that between October 2012 and January 2016 Hansen and others used various entities, including Americans Helping America, to sell memberships in what he referred to as a Migration Program. The defendant fraudulently claimed that the program could help immigrant adults achieve United States citizenship by being legally adopted by an American citizen and completing a handful of tasks.
At first, the defendant sold memberships for $150 annual. Eventually, the fee grew as high as $10,000. While some victims completed the adoption stage of the program, no one obtained citizenship. As early as October 2012, Hansen was notified by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that aliens adopted after their 16th birthday would be unable to obtain citizenship in the manner Hansen promoted. Nevertheless, Hansen and others encourages roughly 500 victims to pay more than $1 million to join the program.
Again, Helaman Hansen has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Additional details can be found here.