Immigration Fraud Shows Up on the Soccer Fields

By David North on March 19, 2021

A large-scale immigration fraud has shown up in a new place, the soccer fields of America, and relates to a visa type (P-1S) rarely in the news.

Justin Capell, a citizen living in Massachusetts, and a soccer executive, has pleaded guilty to an interesting conspiracy to criminally violate the obscure P-1S visa system, for support personnel in professional sports, often coaches.

This visa is not to be confused with the P-1A visas for professional athletes, such as Canadian hockey players and baseball players from the Dominican Republic.

Capell was the chief operating officer of Global Premier Soccer. It offered, among other things, soccer coaching through "clinics, town leagues, elite club leagues [and] tournaments", according to the PACER file on the case (1:21-cr-10056-RWZ). Instead of filing directly with the Department of Homeland Security for its foreign workers, GPS filed petitions on behalf of "at least seven professional soccer teams that contained false and misleading information ... [on] how the beneficiaries would be paid, and what entity would employ them."

Among the professional soccer teams mentioned in the PACER file are the Syracuse Silver Knights, a men’s team, and the Boston Breakers, a women’s team.

Apparently one can use the P-1S visas in connection with a professional team, but not for work with amateurs. The beneficiaries never worked for the professional teams; they were employed, at lower wages than recorded on the immigration applications, by GPS and its affiliates.

Capell is also charged with somewhat similar crimes in connection with the H-2B program, for non-ag, non-skilled workers. He has pleaded guilty to these crimes and faces sentencing in the U.S. district court in Massachusetts according to both the PACER file and this Law360 article.

In more than 12 years of close observation of aliens in foreign worker programs, I had never encountered any crimes in connection with P-1S.

While neither the PACER file nor the Law360 article mentions it, Capell's intrigues apparently denied soccer coaching jobs to scores of Americans.