U.S. ex-diplomat sentenced to prison for $3 mln in visa bribes


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Michael T. Sestak, former US diplomat in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City 
A former U.S. diplomat was sentenced to 64 months in prison on Friday for accepting more than $3 million in bribes to process fraudulent visas in Vietnam, prosecutors said.
Michael Sestak, 44, pleaded guilty in November 2013 in Washington's U.S. District Court to conspiracy and bribery charges. Three other people have pleaded guilty in the scheme, which generated at least $9.78 million in bribes, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.
Sestak, who was a visa official in the Ho Chi Minh City consular section, and others were accused of creating or submitting about 500 fraudulent applications for non-immigrant visas to the United States, the statement said.
Sestak admitted that he caused fraudulent visas to be issued between February and September 2012. Applicants' payments ranged from $15,000 to $70,000.
Many of those who received the visas had previously been denied them, the statement said.
Sestak laundered his bribe money through China to buy nine real estate properties in Thailand. Under the plea agreement, he will sell them and forfeit the proceeds to pay back part of the $6 million judgment against him, the statement said.

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