US visa bribery probe deepens in Jamaica
(Jamaica Observer) A senior security official who worked in the US Embassy in Kingston is expected to be charged soon for his alleged role in helping the manager of a popular Jamaican entertainer obtain a US visa to leave the island in the face of legal troubles, according to highly placed law enforcement sources.
The manager, law enforcement officials told the Jamaica Observer, works for the Jamaican deejay, who allegedly gave gifts to assistant regional security officer David J Rainsberger who helped the deejay obtain a US visa following the revocation of a previous visa in 2010.
According to our source, the senior security official — the second US embassy staff member to figure in the probe — gave a statement in mid- 2012 in which he admitted to accepting money, plane tickets and backstage passes to concerts for his effort.
He also admitted to being put up in a resort in Jamaica for assisting the artiste’s manager in securing the visa while stationed in Jamaica from 2009 to 2011.
Last week, 32-year-old Rainsberger pleaded guilty in a Virginia court to receiving unlawful gratuities from the artiste and is to be sentenced on April 19.
According to a release posted on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Rainsberger admitted to accepting two luxury watches worth approximately US$2,500 from the artiste in addition to free admission to nightclubs, backstage access to concerts, and a birthday party hosted by the musician.
The incident occurred while Rainsberger, then a member of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, was stationed at the US Embassy in Kingston from 2009 to 2011.
“While there,” the release stated, “Rainsberger befriended a well-known Jamaican musician whose entry to the US had been barred because of allegations of criminal conduct.” According to the release, Rainsberger’s investigation “of this individual” resulted in the reinstatement of his visa, “which allowed the individual to travel to the US to take advantage of performance and recording opportunities”.
In addition to the charge of receiving unlawful gratuities, Rainsberger also pleaded guilty in an Alexandria, Virginia court to making false statements to the United States Government on a national security questionnaire, which is required to maintain his security clearance.
Rainsberger faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison on the gratuities charge and five years in prison on the false statements charge.
The false statement charge, according to the release, stems from allegations that Rainsberger, who was already married, became engaged to a Jamaican and intentionally withheld disclosure of the relationship from the US Government on Office of Personnel Management Standard Form 86, a national security questionnaire that requires disclosure of close and continuing contact with foreign nationals.
The US authorities also said that Rainsberger repeatedly accessed, without authority, Department of State visa and passport databases for personal purposes.