An Iowan who was a former employee for the State Department has been convicted of exchanging airline tickets and hotel rooms for approved visa applications. Mason City native Patricia Raikes is a former chief consular officer for the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. She had responsibility for everything while at the embassy, including the issuing of visas. Court records show that between 1999 and 2001, Raikes approved more than 35 tourist visas for foreign business people not eligible to receive them. Raikes pleaded guilty to charges in April, and now has been sentenced to one year probation and a three-thousand dollar fine.
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