An Elk Grove man has been indicted on charges he promised U.S. citizenship to undocumented immigrants in exchange for money.
Helaman Hansen faces 13 counts of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud for his part in a scam that promised adoptions of adults to qualify them for citizenship.
Ben Wagner is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.
"The indictment alleges that he used several entities including "Americans Helping America Chamber Of Commerce" of which Hansen is the founder, former CEO, and current Chairman of the Board, to market a program that he promised would utilize adult adoptions that would result in U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants."
Wagner says Hansen was warned about his operation three-and-a-half years ago, but authorities did not shut him down until this week.
"When you're dealing with multiple entities operating in multiple states,” says Wagner. “Trying to get information as we discussed earlier from victims who are reluctant sometimes to talk with law enforcement, getting the sense of the full scope of it can be a challenge."
Investigators believe Hansen swindled 500 people out of half-a-million dollars.
Some of the people were actually adopted. But, only children under the age of 16 may become citizens through adoption.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation and say undocumented immigrants who were victims will not be targeted for deportation.