Department of Justice sheds light on massive youth soccer scheme to commit visa fraud

Justin Capell, the former chief operating officer of Global Premier Soccer, the now-defunct youth soccer organization that once served tens of thousands of youth players, was charged and has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit visa fraud in a wide-ranging conspiracy to import hundreds of youth coaches.

False P-1S Visas. The Department of Justice outlined the scheme in which Capell and others are alleged to have conspired to file fraudulent visa petitions on behalf of at least seven pro soccer teams in order to secure visas for GPS’s coaching staff.

The visa petitions claimed the applicants would be working as scouts or assistant coaches for the pro teams, thereby making them eligible for P-1S visas as essential support personnel, when in reality they would work as youth soccer coaches for GPS and would be making far less than they would if they indeed worked for the pro teams.

Three clubs were mentioned in the information submitted in U.S. District Court in Boston:

-- Syracuse Pro Sports (which played in the Major Arena Soccer League as the Syracuse Silver Knights for four seasons before moving to Utica in 2018);
-- Boston Elite Soccer (which played in the NWSL for five seasons and folded in 2018); and
-- Sky Blue FC (which is an original member of the NWSL).

The Department of Justice alleges the visa petitions contained materially false and misleading information regarding the teams’ purported need for workers, how they would be employed, how much they would be paid and who would
employ them.

Capell and others are alleged to have submitted fake employment contracts between the pro teams and visa applicants and fabricated coaching licenses from the English FA to include in the visa applications.

The co-conspirators are also accused, in some instances, of instructing the applicants to mislead the U.S. State Department and Citizenship and Immigration Services during visa interviews about their work, referencing work as scouts for another pro club, the MASL's Florida Tropics.

False H-2B Visas. Another visa program for foreign workers is the H-2B visa program, which secures temporary work in fields where there are not enough U.S. citizens to fill the jobs.

Capell and his co-conspirators are alleged to have filed H-2B visa petitions that contained materially false and misleading information about the need, scope, and location of the jobs the H-2B foreign workers would fill, instructing foreign workers to lie about the terms of their employment with GPS during visa interviews with State Department personnel, and employing them in geographic locations other than those authorized by the visas.

GPS collapse. In June 2020, GPS shut down. Its members were advised the decision was made because GPS’s parent company, Legacy Global Sports, was forced into Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court and the COVID-19 pandemic impacted its operations.

The federal investigation included a search and seizure warrant of GPS’s offices in Waltham, Massachusetts, in October 2019. A former GPS employee, Gavin MacPhee, pleaded guilty in 2020 to obstructing justice.

The Boston Glove reported that GPS's creditors -- parents, coaches, staff employees, vendors, and investors -- were owed $30 million with little chance of recovering their money and more than 400 people lost their jobs, including more than 130 in Massachusetts.

Capell, 39, faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

Three co-conspirators were named in the charging document: GPS's chief executive officer, a member of its human resources department and an attorney who specialized in immigration law.

9 comments about "Department of Justice sheds light on massive youth soccer scheme to commit visa fraud".
  1. frank schoon, February 13, 2021 at 9:42 a.m.

    Boy, I wish we could somehow take to court what I would call a racket this  "pay for play" situation, for the parents are paying through the nose, for substandard coaching/training. And also take to court to challenge the whole system whereby the coaches have to pay through the nose to get a coaching license.....This whole system should be called into question.....

  2. Ben Myers replied, February 13, 2021 at 10:22 a.m.

    Agreed.  Seen too much money grubbing from unsuspecting but caring parents for many years.

  3. Sean Blanton replied, February 15, 2021 at 11:21 a.m.

    I am fortunate to be able to pay for the best clubs (do your research!), but I've seen talented Latinos with working-class parents drop out of top clubs to play for less expensive Latino clubs with fewer resources. The pay-to-play system is hurting US Soccer. Just because we are getting some talented kids at the best clubs in the world, doesn't mean we shouldn't have had more by now.

  4. Wallace Wade, February 13, 2021 at 10:36 a.m.

    You can find many of the GPS Coaches now at Rush. There's always room at the McDonalds of Youth Soccer...

  5. R2 Dad, February 13, 2021 at 11:49 a.m.

    Very curious if this will result in jail time or just a financial slap on the wrist like all the other immigration violators. It's been 35 years since the last incomplete attempt at immigration reform. In a country that regards immigration policy as a partisan issue, any real wonder why this kind of thing happens? 

  6. John Soares, February 13, 2021 at 1:14 p.m.

    It's been a long time coming.....
    Sadly I doubt it is over 
    Different area, different faces... same problem 

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, February 13, 2021 at 2:28 p.m.

    These types of cases have a way of cascading. Prosecutors and investigators start looking for similar patterns. Witnesses often know of multiple cons.

  8. John Richardson, February 14, 2021 at 4:20 p.m.

    These "coaches" were from where ?
    Dont we have any decent youth coaches in this country ?
    Must have been a money maker 

  9. Marty Apple, February 15, 2021 at 11:40 a.m.

    This article seems to imply the issues lies with Visa's, but mentiones licenses of some coaches are in question. If that is true, what is USSF doing to make sure these things aren't happening.  What does our governing body own responsibility for? Allowing the coaches to come is one thing, but not ensuring their licensing is accurate with another governing body seems like the lowest bar to set. In the rest of the world coach licenses are documented, as is every academy player.  When does our governing body start to take responsibility for their customers? If you are issuing a license directly to someone, it is obvious, but why isn't their a licensing check to ensure you are allowing qualified imported candidates to coach/serve your customers. While this story turns my stomach for people fleecing unsuspecting american parents, for the amount of money changing hands from parents to local leagues, state associations and USSF, I am shocked there is not some level of coaching qualification standard and database kept for all 'licensed' coaches to keep things in check. Every other business requires it. You'll never stop all conivers from running a con on people, but that is one reason governing bodies are in place.  Not just to plan out the next tournament. Youth clubs have it all to do and that makes it even harder for unsuspecting parents to know who to trust.

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