(CBS Detroit) An attorney and former Warren city councilman was charged Thursday with a complicated scheme to keep illegal immigrants in the country by claiming they were undercover informants who had to stay here for the valuable information they provided to law enforcement.
Except they had no knowledge of any crimes.
Charles Busse, 58, of Birmingham, is accused of working nefariously with a homeland security agent to use fake documents and claims of confidential informant status to fraudulently keep people in the country. He faces bribery, tax evasion, fraud and obstruction of justice charges.
The indictment said from 2009 to 2015, Charles Busse worked with Special Agent Clifton Divers to collect tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to get deportation deferrals by fabricating information on alleged criminal activities for use as proof of cooperation with federal law enforcement agents.
“…When, in fact, the clients had no personal knowledge of the alleged criminal activities,” the indictment says.
For cash, Divers would allegedly provide false information to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to fraudulently obtain deferrals of deportation on Busse’s behalf.
Here’s how one case allegedly unfolded: The FBI claims Busse received a $15,000 payment from an Albanian national who was set to be deported. Busse contacted Divers on the man’s behalf.
A few months later, Divers allegedly sent an email to a Homeland Security officer saying the Albanian man needed to stay because he was “assisting in an official investigation.”
It wasn’t true, but the man’s deportation was delayed, according to the indictment.
In another case, Busse received $6,000 from two Iraqi nationals due to be deported and the same chain of events unfolded, per the documents. Several other incidents are outlined, including one that included a $20,000 cash payment for falsifying confidential informant status, and another where $10,000 changed hands.
And then in 2013, presumably to cover tracks, Divers allegedly removed and destroyed official confidential information.
“As part of that conspiracy, Special Agent Clifton Divers falsified, removed and destroyed official records of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security relating to clients of Charles T. Busse,” the indictment alleges.
This is the second federal charge for Busse, who was acquitted in 2003 on federal corruption charges.
Divers is also charged with conspiring to impair, obstruct and defeat the lawful function of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security by dishonest means. In addition, Agent Divers is charged with destruction and falsification of records to obstruct an official investigation by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The six charged crimes carry maximum penalties of between five and 20 years.