US consulate in Toronto sentenced one year in prison
for expediting 21 visas for NRI Jeweller
Toronto, July 30, 2009
NRI Sunil Agrawal , a New York jewelry mogul admitted and allegedly
bribed diplomat with strippers and jewels.
Mike O’Keefe, a former US visa consulate in Toronto, Canada,
has been sentenced to a year in prison for expedited visas in
exchange for gifts and trips with exotic dangers. He admitted
he expedited 21 visas for employees of STS Jewels between 2004-06
and in return got the presents included several rings and a $3,000
necklace made of gold, diamonds, rubies, and tanzanite. He also
booked a $5,400 trip for his married friend to Las Vegas with
strippers from Toronto.
O’Keefe, 62, attended a gem fair in 2002 on government
business and there met Sunil Agrawal. The men kept in touch and
O’Keefe began hinting about gifts he would like to receive,
such as jewellery and travel.
O’Keefe wrote in an email: "For some reason I really
love Las Vegas. I guess it is because it is a place where I can
lose my stiff diplomatic persona and just act like everyone else.
Let me know if we can work anything out."
Interestingly, they still call each other friends, were sentenced
together yesterday by U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman
jewelry executive charged with bribing US diplomat
WASHINGTON , Feb 26, 2009
NRI Sunil Agrawal, CEO of STS Jewels, one of the world's largest
manufacturers and distributors of tanzanite jewellery and a
former U.S. diplomat pleaded guilty to trading gemstone rings,
trips with exotic dancers and other gifts in exchange for expedited
The indictment charges that the defendant, Michael John O'Keefe,
Sr., 61, was Deputy Nonimmigrant Chief in the U.S. consulate
in Toronto, Canada, received, quid pro quo, gifts and other
benefits from his co-defendant, Sunil Agrawal, for expediting
visa requests for employees of Agrawal's company, STS Jewels.
The prosecutors said:
Agrawal sent O'Keefe the names of employees who needed
visas to work for his company and O'Keefe scheduled them
outside the normal visa process.
O'Keefe did his best to make sure he conducted the interviews
and awarded 21 visas to STS employees.
- The crime is consummated when the agreement to take the
bribe is consummated
- O'Keefe wrote to Agrawal that after more than 20 years as
a State Department worker, he was growing tired of the visa
arguments and frustrated with younger subordinates who were
"determined to find problems" and reject STS applications.
He overturned their rejections, even when a subordinate noted
that terrorists use jewelry to raise money.
- Agrawal gave to O’Keefe worth more than $3,000 and
a tanzanite ring, ruby necklace and ruby ring for O’Keefe’s
On January 4, 2004, Agrawal wrote e-mail to O'Keefe, "Your
hotel booking is confirmed in Hilton Millennium in Midtown Manhattan.
Two rooms are booked in your name. The car service will be there
at the airport to take you to the hotel."
In June, after renewing visas for five STS managers, O'Keefe
and two exotic dancers flew to Las Vegas, prosecutors said.
Agrawal is accused of paying more than $5,400 for airfare, hotels,
meals and incidentals for the trip.
On or about May 31, 2005, a consular officer at the Consulate
in Toronto was in the process of interviewing P.S.B., S.K.B.
and I.S.B., respectively, an STS Jewels employee and his family
members. The consular officer was in the process of notifying
the family that it would be denying their visas on that day
pending an additional inquiry when defendant MICHAEL JOHN O’KEEFE,
Sr. appeared and stated that he would be taking over the adjudication
of the visas, which he did. O'Keefe, pleaded guilty to accepting
an illegal gratuity, a felony that carries up to two years in
prison and a $250,000 fine.
O'Keefe is now a professo at Southern New Hampshire University.
He is allowed to finish semester and sentenced date was set
up on June 19, 2009. He must pay $5,000 to compensate for airfare,
hotel rooms and other entertainment that Agrawal provided for
him and exotic dancers who accompanied him on two trips from
Toronto/ New York/ Las Vegas.
Sunil Agrawa, 49, worked out a deal that allowed him to plead
guilty to the misdemeanor charge of illegal supplementation
of salary. He faces up to a one-year prison sentence and a $100,000
Both were pleaded guilty so that they can get shorter prison.
STS jewels, New
Twenty years ago, three young men sat together in Hong Kong,
got talking about gems and jewelry. Today, the group has four
plants in India and Thailand engaged in gemstone cutting and jewelry
manufacturing, using casting and stamping operations.
STS Group with headquarters in New York (STS Jewels Inc.) is
amongst the better-known organizations in the color gemstones
and jewelry industry. Tanzanite Jewelry is STS Group’s specialty
STS has a reservoir of over 1800 skilled and trained employee
worldwide. This includes unparalleled resources in designing,
manufacturing and distribution of jewelry and gemstones.
It has an extensive Product Development team and infrastructure
spread over New York, Bangkok, India and Hong Kong, consisting
of visualizers, designers, CAD experts and Rapid Prototyping machines.
This team forecasts the jewelry and fashion trends on one hand
and keeps a tab on exciting gemstone finds on the other to present
a vast range of new products to our customers.
Nearly total vertical integration ensures that STS is able to
offer high Quality products to its customers at highly efficient
price points – a philosophy that is clearly reflected in
its Vision & Values.