JAMES KEEGAN fraudulently offered immigration advocacy services, including guaranteed permanent resident status in the United States, in exchange for a fluctuating fee that averaged $3,000 per applicant. Keegan falsely claimed that he formerly worked as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and that he still had connections there who could quickly approve the permanent resident applications for legal status. More than 200 undocumented immigrants paid him more than $687,000, with many of the fees paid in cash at Keegan’s storefront office in Berwyn. In reality, Keegan was never an attorney and had not worked for DHS, and he never filed any immigration applications on behalf of his undocumented immigrant “clients.” Keegan spent all of the fees on personal expenses, including gambling losses.
Keegan, 57, of Cicero, pleaded guilty in March to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey imposed the sentence Wednesday in federal court in Chicago.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; James M. Gibbons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago; and Craig Goldberg, Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine M. Young represented the government.
According to evidence in the case, Keegan carried out the fraud scheme during a nine-month period in 2017. He attempted to conceal his scam by creating fake approval notices and attempting to purchase bogus immigration documents. A law enforcement search of Keegan’s computers and cell phone revealed that he sought to purchase 35 blank residency cards from an online provider of novelty identification documents.
At the time of his immigration fraud scheme, Keegan was on court supervision after recently being released from federal prison for a prior conviction involving investment fraud.