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STS jewels, New York


    Former US consulate in Toronto sentenced one year in prison
    for expediting 21 visas for NRI Jeweller

    Toronto, July 30, 2009
    Sher Singh

    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

    NRI jewelry executive charged with bribing US diplomat

    WASHINGTON , Feb 26, 2009
    Harbans Lal

    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 work visas.

    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 wife.

    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 fine.

    Both were pleaded guilty so that they can get shorter prison.

    STS jewels, New York

    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.




Sunil Agrawal

  • STS Jewels is one of the world's largest manufacturers and distributors of tanzanite jewellery.
  • Within a relatively short span of twenty years STS now ranks amongst the world's largest, fully integrated jewelry operations in the colored gemstone industry. Being amongst the world's first few companies to commercially promote tanzanite, we are proud of our contribution to the growth of this market
    According to the Statement of Offense, to which O’Keefe agreed before February 1, 2004, and continuing through August 18, 2006, O’Keefe received and accepted from Agrawal round trip airline tickets between Toronto, Canada and Las Vegas for O’Keefe and three companions; hotel accommodations and expenses in New York for O’Keefe and two of the companions; and hotel accommodations and expenses in Las Vegas for O’Keefe and three companions; jewelry, expensive meals; and entertainment. O’Keefe scheduled expedited interviews for and issued visas to 21 persons sponsored by STS Jewels.