A United Nations employee was arrested Monday on charges that he and two others used U.N. letterhead to gain permission for foreigners to enter the country illegally, prosecutors announced.

Vyacheslav Manokhin, a U.N. employee based in Manhattan, was accused of helping numerous non-U.S. citizens enter the country illegally by providing fraudulent documents so they could obtain visas to attend conferences that either did not exist or which they did not attend.

The charges in the scheme, which prosecutors said lasted from April 2005 until the present, were outlined in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Manokhin, 45, a citizen of the Russian Federation who lives in Connecticut, was scheduled to appear in court later Monday.

He was charged with conspiracy to commit fraud with regard to immigration documents, a charge which can result in a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

According to court documents, Manokhin used his U.N. position to make it appear as though the U.N. supported the visa applications so that foreign nationals could enter the United States to attend conferences organized by non-government organizations or the United Nations itself.

In most instances, prosecutors said, the foreign national was successful in obtaining a visa.

Prosecutors said Manokhin himself admitted to a U.N. investigator that he had allowed a foreigner to use his U.N. telephone number as a contact number on immigration documents and that he would say that visa applicants were legitimate U.N. conference attendees if anyone asked.

Robert Sikorski, a lawyer for Manokhin, did not immediately return a telephone message for comment.