March 25, 2011, - 6:24 pm

Investigations, Shminvestigations: Is Key ICE Agent’s Degree Real or Not?

By Debbie Schlussel

Sadly, it wouldn’t be the first–and probably not nearly the last–time that a high-ranking Department of Homeland Security official lied about his/her resume and used a phony college degree.  So, does Jorge Guzman, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Los Angeles (who has top secret security clearance) have a real degree or not?  It’s being litigated in court, and I’m confused as to which side is in the right here.  Only time will tell.

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But either way, it doesn’t paint a rosy picture of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s investigative abilities, despite the many great investigators I know to be among the ranks of that agency. If the vetters from the agency can’t sleuth out a fake degree, how are they gonna do when it’s a fake document or fake story from illegal aliens and others? It’s also not a good sign of what goes on atop the Los Angeles ICE office, as he’s not the first top agent there to be involved in a scandal. And he’s already collected $400K from the feds when he filed suit over previous investigations against him. The article quotes officials saying they are “testing” his college degree, to see if it is authentic. “Testing” doesn’t mean “tested with conclusive results.”

A high-ranking Homeland Security official who held a top secret security clearance and supervised squads of agents in Los Angeles has been suspended as a federal grand jury probes whether he lied about having a college degree, The Smoking Gun has learned.

The ongoing criminal investigation is targeting Jorge Guzman, a 25-year law enforcement veteran who served as the assistant special agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s L.A. branch.

In mid-December, agents executed a search warrant at the 51-year-old Guzman’s office inside a downtown L.A. building. Simultaneously, he was placed on paid administrative leave, and stripped of his firearm, badge, and government vehicle. Correspondence sent to his dhs.gov e-mail address is now returned to the sender marked undeliverable.

Lawyers for Guzman. . . contend that he graduated from a California community college and has provided federal officials with copies of an authentic diploma. In a recent court filing, Guzman’s counsel stated that their client’s “name and reputation are being ruined by a false allegation” and shoddy sleuthing.

Whatever the investigation’s outcome, it will likely prove deeply embarrassing to Homeland Security officials. Either a high-ranking ICE supervisor was able to move up the law enforcement ladder while repeatedly lying about his educational history, or an experienced agent was wrongly accused by peers whose botched probe effectively torpedoed his career.

Triggered by an anonymous tip that Guzman “has lied throughout his career that he has a college degree,” ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility opened an investigation late last year. In employment applications and background check documents, Guzman has reported receiving an Associate of Arts degree from Sacramento City College in January 1986, shortly before his hiring as a Border Patrol agent.

After a review of personnel records and school transcripts, and an interview with a college admissions supervisor, agents concluded that there was probable cause to believe that Guzman had lied about earning a degree from the two-year college, which he attended between 1978-1986. And that he had provided superiors with a bogus diploma. . . .

Before his suspension, Guzman supervised four ICE groups probing human smuggling and trafficking as well as benefit fraud. He has been quoted in newspapers about ICE cases and has appeared on TV programs like CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” . . .

Guzman has previously been the subject of a series of other internal investigations, inquiries that prompted him to file a lawsuit alleging that he was targeted because he is Latino. While admitting no wrongdoing, the Department of Justice in 1999 paid Guzman $400,000 to settle the legal action.

Well, if they are wrong, you can bet he’ll be asking for another $400K. And if this is a bogus investigation, I can’t say I blame him. We’ll see.

So, what do you think? Is Guzman lying or did ICE OPR investigators not do their job? On the one hand, it sounds like they contacted the school, and there is no authentic degree, though they have not yet tested the alleged degree for forgery. On the other, if he were lying, why go to the expense of having lawyers litigate this, claiming he has an authentic degree. Does someone have that much chutzpah if they are bluffing? As I said, I’m confused. What is your take?

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36 Responses

I just can see how the internal affairs at ICE can botch this especially when it involved a high ranking official. But let’s not forget the old INS border patrol has hired agents with criminal records and yes, a few who were illegal aliens from Mexico; maybe they should check his birth certificate.

Henry on March 25, 2011 at 9:14 pm

8-years at a community college? Cripes, I could understand the suspicion if he claimed a PhD/Summa Cum Laude from Harvard. But an associates degree from some piss-ant high school with ashtrays? A $400,000 settlement for discrimination? He got as far as he did because he WAS Latino, not because of any particularly brilliant career activity. Sounds like vintage border patrol to me.

#1 Vato on March 25, 2011 at 9:43 pm

What I find unreal is the corrpupt nonsense that has gone on in SAC/LA the past few years.. Youve had multiple misconduct investigations of 3 high ranking people.. (SAC, ASAC who wasnt charged till aftr retirement, and then this ASAC)…. And now the incident with head of Intel DS previously reported about.. What the hell is going on with ICE? Perhaps some other entity other than ICE OPR should be taking a look at the whole big picture here what the hell is going on within ICE? How bout some Congressional Oversight over how misconduct and internal corrpuption cases are handled? How bout improving an internal system of checks and balances within ICE to further enhance capabilities to detect internal corruption? Sounds like a joke to me..Whose watching?? Sounds like DHS OIG and ICE OPR need an enema.

Why the hell is the former SAC rumored to be back on the job? Unreal. Sets an example anyone can do whatever the hell they want and theres not consequences.

bambooshoots on March 25, 2011 at 10:25 pm

ICE Senior managers having affairs with subordinates without repercussions. Illegal retaliation against whistle blowers. Incompetent FODs and former program directors – with Cracker Jack degrees from on line universities. Former assistant secretaries with no college at all dragging an entire agency into a hole. And we’re worried about some dope claiming to have a two year degree that is 25 years old??? C’mon!

belugajedi on March 26, 2011 at 12:34 am

Corupptocrat to the max. An Obama hero.

pat on March 26, 2011 at 2:33 am

Shame they’re not being so dilligent about Obama.

After all, he is only the President of. despite what he’s trying to make it, the most powerful country in the World.

logdon on March 26, 2011 at 7:44 am

This happened to the right ASAC, he has always been a bully; karma is a bitch.

Joann on March 26, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Come on, many years of investigating Mr. Guzman, and they come up empty. Now they launch an investigation about the credibility of his degree some 25 years too late. It all sounds like there’s something personel going on there. If I lied about my degree, I certainly would not challenge its authenticity. I think the Govt. has botched this one in to ruining a mans career. I hope Mr. Guzman finds justice and exposes ICE’s corruption once and for all!

    The Truth on February 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

So how did this guy get hired in the first place, 25 years ago? I’m older than that, and when I went job hunting after college the prospective employers all required a certified transcript from the college or university, and THEY went to the school requesting it. It was not sufficient for me to provide a copy of a diploma, for heaven’s sake. In fact, I remember a colleague of mine who claimed to have graduated from an out-of-state university, and she provided a “transcript” directly to the employer. She was hired, but the company still contacted the university in question requesting a certified transcript. Lo and behold, several weeks later she disappeared from the office. Turns out she only attended that university for one year. She had done a cut-and-paste job on the transcript SHE provided, using her HUSBAND’S transcript for the rest of the four years. As soon as our HR people found out, she was fired. I’ve now been in Human Resources for over 30 years, as we ALWAYS go back to the school for verification. So how is it that this guy has advanced in a LAW ENFORCEMENT job, no doubt with some level of security clearance, and this is STILL in question? Oh, wait a minute. We are talking about the government here. And Obama has never provided HIS transcripts from college either, but has the highest security clearance.

DG in GA on March 26, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Why didn’t the BP identify the degree as bogus? A High School diploma was all that was required. None gave a good gosh darned. But for the prior black eye received by ICE none would give a darned today.
    How do you spell prohibited retribution for EEO complaint?

    TimHo on March 27, 2011 at 9:09 pm

The best disinfectant for what’s happening at ICE and our federal government in general is to continue to shine the light of public attention on events like this. I’ve never seen it this bad. I believe you could see this agency fold up shop tomorrow and not see any significant change in the security of our country or our way of life. There’s got to be a tipping point at which the public will start to pay attention to the obscene amount of taxpayer money these agencies churn through, versus what they are getting in return, which in the case of ICE, is not much.

There are good people in this agency, but the problems all come down to leadership. We currently have at ICE, a director or assistant secretary or whatever the hell he is called this week, who is no leader. He’s a nice guy, but he is a political appointee who is marching in step with Eric Holder while maneuvering the best he can to parachute into a choice gig once his time is up.

I believe the beginning of this slide into keystone copdom started with Julie Myers, a person who didn’t have the credentials to be a patrol sergeant in the Shawnee, Kansas, Police Department, much less run an agency like ICE. Instead of standing up for what is right and demanding that President Bush appoint a proven law enforcement leader capable of running an agency like ICE, the Federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association (FLEOA) sold out and got behind Myers because of her commitment to, “meet with us.” Big damn whup. Much to my sadness, the few senior people in our agency who held the respect of the ICE rank and file, and who could have rallied this agency into something competent and worthy of respect , started heading for the exits. I don’t blame them though. What we are left with in senior positions in ICE, compared with those who once held equivalent positions in the U.S. Customs Service, are law enforcement neophytes. I believe they are good people with good intentions, but they are way, way out of their league. They have had no mentoring and are too often pitted against seasoned veterans in other agencies who are running circles around them. They don’t know what they don’t know. They cannot adequately advise the people above them, and they can’t lead those beneath them. They have filled middle and lower level management positions with youngsters who are craving leadership, but who only see contradictions and chaos.

Then you throw in the mix, situations like this with the SAC Los Angeles. Does anyone think there is one manager in ICE who has a clue how to clean up that mess or any of the others across the ICE organization? All they know to do is rearrange the chairs on the Titanic, and that is all you will see here. And just so you know, OPR is powerless to do anything. While it certainly appears that they screwed up this case, there have been plenty of others where they have delivered the goods on people who have no business being federal employees, only to see management either fail to act, OPLA fail to defend management’s decisions, or MSPB reversing their decisions to discipline. It’s hard as hell to fire a competitively appointed civil service employee. Maybe it’s time to consider using excepted service appointments for all new hires.

For any of you younger ICE agents who read this, or if you are an aspiring ICE agent, get yourselves into a state and local law enforcement agency. Maybe you won’t make as much money, but your career will be truly rewarding. You’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t leave sooner.

Lastly, keep shining the light on this nonsense Debbie Schlussel. That’s all that can be done. Only when enough of the American people demand something better, will you see any change.

? on March 26, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Homeland Security created because Arabs hijacked airplanes and murdered over 3,000 at WTC. What on earth does Homeland Security have to do with Canadians who already were forced to buy visas, to be charged by Homeland Security $7.50 everytime they fly to the USA? And what on earth does Homeland Security have to do with shutting down Channelsurfing a links engine that provided links to sports events?

The fascist President is out of control!

Bill C. on March 26, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Re: obama te fascist protecting the homeland from internet pirates like channelsurfing – what kind of a hypocrite is this muslim president? he orders mubarak to not mess with the internet then the kenyan/indonesian president instructs ICE to take down that links to viewing sports event site!

    does anyone feel safer?

    Bill C. on March 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm

The US government has phonies and espionage agents crawling all over the place. I think its great they are finally vetting Guzman. However, when in the name of all that’s holy are they going to vett this bloodsucking islamo-marxist Obama??

joesixpack31 on March 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Approximately 15 years ago when another security officer in the Clinton Administration was in question and no one could provide an accurate account of who hired him. Please forgive me for not remembering the names in question but it was speculated that he was a Hillary Clinton hire and one Senater berated with several questions mainly seeking “Who hired you”‘ never to recieve an accurate answer.

Anthony on March 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm

DG in GA…at the time this ass-monkey was hired by border patrol, circa 198? they didn’t even require a HS diploma. In fact; they just recently changed that educational requirement.

#1 Vato on March 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm

@Anthony- I think that person was Craig Livingstone. I cynically have come to the conclusion that is is not what you know but who you know that career advancements/ promotions take place. I am too old but at the same I am no spring chicken but I have observed quite a bit. Every job I have worked in since age 16, if they boss likes you, you will get promoted. If you are disliked or even hated, go to another job/career.

I think the case with this guy, is he stepped on the wrong toes and those enemies he made are after him. They failed the first time so now they have a new angle to come at him. I personally think he is unqualified by basing the current requirements. I just can not believe 8 years in community college and the best was an A.A? However this would not be an issue if he had no. Iced off the wrong people. Those people that are after him suddenly are using our tax dollars to screw this guy.

I see no winners/good guys in this fiasco, just the ineptitude and corruption of government hiring process. Our tax dollars at work!

Mario on March 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Sorry for the grammatical errors but seems the iPhone spell check is going overboard and putting words where I did not want.

Mario on March 26, 2011 at 8:58 pm

In some sensitive jobs in public and private employment, the degree of investigation depends on how badly they want to keep someone. If they want to keep someone, they don’t investigate as much, and vice versa.

Many of us know of cases where criminals have gotten past the investigators. If they need people fast, they will hire first, and investigate later. This is especially true if the job candidate is of a desired ethnic persuasion.

Little Al on March 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm

“On the other, if he were lying, why go to the expense of having lawyers litigate this, claiming he has an authentic degree. Does someone have that much chutzpah if they are bluffing?”

Yes, a real liar considers it a point of pride to have that much chutzpah and more. Debbie, apparently you just haven’t met a serious lowlife scammer before.

Consider the fact that he attended junior college for 8 years for a 2 year degree — that’s about 10 courses in 8 years, that’s an average of 1 course a year. He probably maxed out on student loans and had to get a job, and maybe after all that time he had a girlfriend who worked in the registrar’s office who got him a diploma? Or maybe he worked on campus and stole the document himself?

Shoddy work to accept a diploma as evidence of a degree. — Only an official transcript sent by the school is proof of a degree. The diploma is something you hang on your wall, not what you use to get a job.

RCCA on March 26, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? is a Latin phrase from the Roman poet Juvenal, variously translated as “Who watches the watchmen?”, “Who watches the watchers?”, “Who will guard the guards?”, “Who shall watch the watchers themselves?”

Dr Dale on March 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Correction: an AA degree takes about 20 classes, or about 2.5 classes a year, 1 or 2 per semester.

Also, in CA the accusation of “racism” is immediately hurled whenever someone of Hispanic background is criticized in any way.

RCCA on March 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm

If this guy was hired by the Border Patrol, why it it ICE’s fault that he got away with this for so long. ICE learned of the issue and is attempting to deal with it, good for them. If you want an example of internal investigative incomptence and an agency’s refusal to do the right thing against people destroying the agency, look to the “Leadership” in Calexico (El Centro), California. Now that’s where you will find the best episodes of ICE’s Biggest Losers.

Jus Soli on March 27, 2011 at 10:15 am

Debbie, these online degrees are a good idea. I knew a guy (of a certain religious persuasion) who created online universities, even created accrediting institutions for those universities, and sold online degrees for several thousand dollars each. Lots of people bought them. Depending on the state, there may be little or no barrier to calling yourself a university and issuing diplomas. It’s a fairly low risk business, and the university names are typically waspy sounding or directional. Debbie I have lots of even better ideas to separate morons from their money so that we can plant more trees in Israel and get new iPhones every year despite having these damn two year contracts.

A1 on March 27, 2011 at 8:59 pm

This earlier article suggests the feds paid that 400k because of years and years worth of false accusation. Article quotes father that more than thirty investigations were launched against this agent previously. No wonder he “got emotional” when the latest accusation arrived. Taken over the period of his career, it seems somebody has been after the agent from day one.

http://articles.latimes.com/1999/jan/21/entertainment/ca-369

d. on March 28, 2011 at 12:59 am

Whether or not this Agent lied about his degree is one thing but to blame ICE for not catching it early on and attacking ICE’s ability to investigate document fraud is a statement from someone that clearly doesn’t understand federal levels of investigation. You need to understand that when this Agent applied for a Special Agent position ICE did not exist. Also back then the background investigations were completed by Office of Personnel Management (OPM) criminal investigators who did the background investigations for pretty much all applicants. These investigators had nothing to do with ICE, Customs, or Immigration. Therefore his background and educational credentials were vetted by an agency other than ICE that was paid to do so. Now that the allegation has been made, I am confident the allegation will be investigated and the results will be reported correctly. My point is, let us hold off on passing blame on ICE and attacking their competency until we know the facts and agency investigative jurisdictions.

Rich on March 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm

OPR blew it. They did a phone intervbiew with the college probably and never showed the college person the real diploma. but why did jorge have it in his car? maybe someone tipped him off? Maybe his best friend who is the rac of the opr office that did the investigating? check it out debbie. check it out. real crime is cbp ia agents getting permanent gs14 pay for doing admin cases only. they use that for a stepping stone to 14 and 15 levels in ice. a crime. waste fraud and abuse.

laffing on April 3, 2011 at 2:05 am

and why is opr hiring mainly customs agents?

laffing on April 3, 2011 at 2:06 am

He was just a jerk and met his final demise. Anymore, said than that. Once again proves in fact that you/all were never real investigator’s See all the above statements. So no one is really all that Special. No? Go Blue. (sic’s) Sorry.

Old School on April 10, 2011 at 3:05 am

If you knew the man, it wouldn’t surprise you. Karma is a kick in the %$#!

Kiddin'me on April 17, 2011 at 12:09 am

sac la is in the toilet because of the management being controlled by one person. legacy customs guy who hates legacy ins. sac la opr controlled by legacy customs guy who is best friend of sac la controller. and the controller is not the sac that just got hired.

sacla on July 15, 2011 at 12:28 am

So whatever happened with Guzman? I’ve seen nothing in the news since March.

What did the grand jury decide? Is he still with ICE?

Ken on October 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm

So what ever happened on this?

dave on March 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm

The new DHS Secretary suspended Administratively Uncontrollable overtime for some of the other “Security Specialists” who do desk work like background investigation allegations, saving them up for the OPM reinvestigation, among other things. How come he did not suspend it for OPR, as well?

Chinggis on April 5, 2014 at 3:50 am

The first question is whether an associates degree is of any usefulness in his chosen profession. There is no legal requirement for ICE HSI agents or supervisors to have any degree except a high school diploma or GED.

The real issue is whether he lied or not. But since he is Hispanic, they will let him slide. He is an affirmative action hire and was promoted based on affirmative action.

Federale (@Federale86) on May 9, 2014 at 8:50 pm

The issue with George Guzman, oh sorry he became Jorge when he filed his lawsuit,is that a Associates Degree is not a College Degree, He claimed he had a four year college degree. Try going into the Army, Navy or Marine Corp with an Associates and say you want to be in the Officer Program they will tell you to complete all requirements for bachelor’s degree under university rules and regulations. Guzman, being a moron, does not understand that not all law is written and codified so he thought he could state he had a college degree and that ICE would accept that as a university degree without checking, and they did because it is not spelled out in writing, but it is in the case law and practice of the Federal Government. Guzman lucked out with the USA having crap attorneys the first time, its not going to happen twice.

Igor Trotsky on July 27, 2014 at 7:50 pm

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