Federal investigators who have charged a former Miss Bolivia with immigration fraud and perjury have now accused the woman of hiring illegal immigrants to work as servants in her Paradise Valley mansion.
Agents with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided Sonia Falcone’s home and a condominium on Feb. 18 — a month after a grand jury returned a four-count indictment alleging she illegally possessed a green card she obtained through marriage fraud and that she lied under oath on an application for citizenship.
Sandy Raynor, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, said federal authorities suspected Falcone hired illegal immigrants, and recently filed documents in the case claim that ICE agents found evidence of it in the raids.
The new allegations aren’t charges, but the government wants to use the evidence against her at trial.
“Documents and testimony will show that defendant also lied to immigration officials regarding her knowing employment of unauthorized aliens in violation of federal immigration laws,” assistant U.S. attorney Mary Beth Pfister wrote.
“This evidence is admissible to demonstrate defendant’s knowledge and the absence of any mistake or accident when she made false statements in her attempts to obtain citizenship.”
So if the government has evidence of a crime, why not charge her?
“The investigation is ongoing,” Raynor said. “That’s all we can (say) at this time.”
The document alleges she employed four illegal immigrants at her home from 2002 to 2006, when agents arrested them.
The document states that she hired a couple and their son to work as butler and driver, house manager and to run errands, respectively. She also hired an illegal immigrant to work as a nanny.
Court records say she concealed their employment during an inspection in August, and when ICE started asking questions, she changed their work hours, told them to stop wearing their uniforms and started paying them in cash.
Falcone’s defense attorney, Grant Woods, did not return calls seeking comment.
Falcone is married to Pierre Falcone, an international businessman who deals with financing and other business ventures and holds a diplomatic post for Angola with the United Nations.
They live in an estate that was built for $10.5 million in 2001.
French authorities released Pierre Falcone in December 2001 after dropping charges of arms dealing, tax fraud and influence peddling.