According to news reports, (“Feds: Top U.S. Official Aided La Shish Scam”), the US Attorney’s office in Detroit has just unsealed an indictment against five defendants charging them with bribery, extortion, and conspiracy, including one high-ranking official with the Detroit office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (“ICE”), Roy M. Bailey, of Romulus.
According to the statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office, the
indictment charges BAILEY with misusing his position as the Assistant District Director with INS and, thereafter, as the Field Office Director at DHS-ICE by accepting large sums of currency and other property in return for granting immigration benefits, including the release of several individuals who were being kept in the custody of INS and DHS-ICE.
Also charged in the Superseding indictment was Dearborn’s notorious Talal Chahine, owner of the La Shish restaurant chain, deadbeat dad, fugitive, and Hezbollah money launderer.
The press release says:
CHAHINE and BAILEY were charged with conspiring to use BAILEY’s position at INS and at DHS-ICE to extort money from former employees of the La Shish restaurant business. In May of 2006, CHAHINE was charged in a separate investigation with criminal tax evasion. Since the time those charges were made public, CHAHINE has failed to return to the United States and is believed to be living as a fugitive in the country of Lebanon.
Debbie Schlussel has a few things to say about the timing of this indictment here.
And according to the Detroit News, ("Detroit immigration official charged with bribery"), the indictment also names another Dearborn restaurant owner, Samir Leon, of Leon's Family Dining, (described in the indictment as “Samir L.”), for also allegedly paying bribes to Bailey. For for reasons we don’t know he is not being charged in this indictment. Bailey managed to shovel down $5,000 worth of free meals at Leon’s, valued at an estimated 1,000 gyros.
The press release also says:
The Superseding Indictment also charged BAILEY and CHAHINE, along with ARZOUNI and BAZZI, with conspiring to defraud the United States by obtaining immigration benefits, including permanent resident status, through the use of false marriages arranged with other La Shish employees who were U.S. citizens.
According to the Detroit News, the grand jury indictment outlines how “the broader scam involved a fraud whereby LaShish Restaurants employees were able to stay in the country through fraudulent marriages to other LaShish employees.”
We commented on what was most likely one of those extortionate marriages a few weeks ago, in the sad story of Chanine’s sister-in-law, Dr. Rula Nadim Al-Aouar. ("LaShish: More Than Just a Restaurant, It's a Hezbollah Soap Opera").
In that situation, the immigrant Al-Aouar didn’t stay in the phony marriage, admitting it to immigration officials not long after, who promptly ordered her to leave the country by November 1993. But she feared being persecuted by Hezbollah (a/k/a, "the Lebanese resistance movement") if she returned to Lebanon, and requested asylum.
The indictment says Chahine was even extorting money from his own former employees at La Shish. What a guy.
Money laundering, fraud, bribery of high officials, fear of Hezbollah, theft, extortion, criminal tax evasion, and the Henry Ford Rouge Factory Tour!
We've got it all right here in Dearborn.