FBI probes US-Tongan company involving alleged immigration scam, Tongan victims speak out

A Tongan organisation in the United States is being investigated by FBI alleging that an adult adoption program it claims will allow adults to become U.S. citizens was a “scam”.

No arrest has been made although FBI has seized computers and documents from the company’s office in Sacramento, California.

The company claimed it has agents in the South Pacific including Tonga and Fiji.

Hilamani Hansen also known as Helamani and his wife Viola Hansen also known as Sela Hansen was the couple at the centre of the FBI investigation.

Bank accounts affiliated with Hansen, his wife and employees of his companies showed hundreds of deposits and hundreds of thousands of dollars deposited and withdrew by various names, it has been reported.

Sacramento County says it will not take any more adoptions sponsored by Hansen’s America Helping America program.

It said it has found some applications used false addresses.

Clients who used the company’s services were told they had a quick path to citizenship if they pay $5,000 to $10,000 a person.

“These people said they were told they could become citizens by being adopted by another adult all through the help of Dr. Helaman Hansen and his company Americans Helping America Chamber of Commerce (AHA)”.

A US immigration expert told KCR News it was a “scam”

Hansen told US media that neither he nor his companies have been charged nor convicted of anything.

Since the Hansen investigation was made public, Tongans who claimed they failed victims to the hands of their own people came forward and claimed they spent thousands of dollars through Hansen’s AHA programme after they were promised to get US citizenship but to no avail.

All Tongan victims who spoke to Kaniva News did not want to be identified because of their immigration status in the States.

One person said she spent about US$5,000 to get her adopted by a citizen couple and it was approved  but quitted after she could not afford to pay further costs the company demanded so they continued to work on her application to get her citizenship.

Some in the Tongan-Sacramento community said Tongans had been repeatedly warned to be careful about the services provided by the AHA saying they were wasting their money on it but most ignored the warning.

One of those people who stood up to help protect the community was Rev Malakai Lose.

“Rev Malakai Lose has warned our people many years ago but most of them said Rev Lose did not love them and did not want them to stay in  here in the United  States legally,” a Tongan community member in Sacramento said.

The organisation

Hansen is the founder and chairman of AHA, which is based in Sacramento. Immigration attorneys said the claim that adult adoption leads to citizenship is patently wrong, Washington Post reported.

The company claims to have people working all across the country including Nevada, Hawaii, Utah, Oregon, Washington, New York, Minnesota and California. They also claim to have representatives recruiting people for the adult adoption program in Tonga and in Fiji, it said.

“Adult adoption is legal and used for things like estate planning and adult care, but according to immigration attorneys as well as ICE, it has no bearing on immigration status.

“Federal agents served a search and seizure warrant on Dec. 22 for all of Hansen’s affiliated companies’ offices, as well as his home.

“Man, I was not even surprised. I was happy,” Hansen said. “I was happy because — thank you for coming — because we need to clear our building. We need to clear how we stand here.”

An FBI  75-page affidavit detailing the almost yearlong investigation states that the FBI is looking for evidence of possible mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud undocumented immigrants.

According to the affidavit, the FBI began its full investigation in February 2015 after a complaint by an employee.

“The document quotes alleged victims and former employees.

“It also details other investigations.

“The affidavit states that a Minnesota judge ruled that AHA had violated Minnesota law by giving legal advice and preparing legal documents without being licensed attorneys.

While talking to KCR  about the FBI investigation, Hansen staid, “Why hasn’t the FBI arrest us here? I am waiting for that day.” He added, “the FBI don’t even know what they’re doing because when I was sitting over there, they were trying to tell me this this this. I listen to it . . . nothing but all false.”

About Dr Hilamani Hansen

Hilamani Hansen described himself in the internet as married  and after leaving Liahona High School in Tonga in 1970 he  left for New Zealand in 1974. After graduating from Wellington Teacher’s  College he went to Australia in 1977 and lived in Queensland, Surfers Paradise and attended Griffith University, then moved to Brisbane Qld 1981.

He claimed he worked as a Hotel Manager for 7 years, then moved to Sydney 1989. In 1991 he worked as a project manager for the BP Oil CO while attending Western Sydney University for 5 years, then spent 4 years with the NSW State Goverment before he relocated to USA in 1999.

In the year 2000 he claimed he ran a construction company DBC management inc.  He also claimed he had been involved in various institutions online in Business and Marketing Management, like Donald Trump school, Cornell University.

He said he was still staying with his wife Sela Hansen also known as Viola Hansen with 3 children and 15 grandchildren.

He claimed he was heavily involved with the community as chairman and founder of the Pacific Islanders Community California, and they  have 3 television channels, a community channel, church channel, and youth channel on comcast, and online.

He also claimed he was a member of the NRCC National Congressional Committee, and co-chair for California small business minority, and member of the business advisory council USA.

He also wrote that “I am a changed man now”, laughing.

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