ARREST OF 14 MORE IN PASSPORT FRAUD CONCLUDES MAJOR PROBE
By Alex P. Vidal
DETROIT, Michigan — The arrest of 14 more individuals engaged in passport scam recently has concluded the major U.S. passport fraud investigation of the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), it was reported here.
According to Sarah Rosetti of the DSS in Washington D.C., from February 5 to 7, their Atlanta Resident Office conducted the operation, in cooperation with several other U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Marshals Service, Federal Protective Service, Social Security Administration, Atlanta Police Department, Fulton County Sheriffs Office, Dekalb County Police Department, Georgia Department Human Resources Children Services, and Georgia Department of Driver Services.
Michael Foster, of the Special Agent in Charge of the DSS Miami Field Office, said the operation targeted people believed to have committed passport fraud to either falsely acquire U.S. citizenship or hide their true identity.
During the three-day operation, 14 subjects were reportedly arrested, and 12 of them were charged in Federal Court for making false statements in an application for a passport, in violation of 18 USC 1542; two were charged in State Court with various felonies.
Two others were reportedly incarcerated on unrelated state arrest warrants. The federal defendants face criminal penalties of up to one year in prison if convicted. Of the 14 arrested for identity theft, 12 are in the U.S. illegally and face possible deportation.
Special Agent in Charge Foster said, “Passport fraud and visa fraud are threats to the national security of the United States.
The U.S. passport and visa are reportedly two of the most coveted travel documents in the world. The Atlanta Resident Office and the Miami Field Office, along with our federal and state enforcement partners, did an outstanding job investigating these cases.”