Monday, July 9, 2012

Former Department of Defense Employees Plead Guilty to Citizenship Fraud

Two former Department of Defense employees pleaded guilty in federal court Monday, July 2, 2012, to attempting to illegally obtain and illegally obtaining U.S. citizenship following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Department of State.

Adeba Sultana, 47, admitted giving false information when she applied for U.S. citizenship in 2008. Sultana acknowledged she used a false name and provided erroneous biographical information on that application, claiming her husband had been killed and falsely describing her method of entry into the United States in various immigration benefits applications. In her application for naturalization, which was approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Sultana lied about her citizenship status and claimed she had not previously provided false information to U.S. immigration officials to obtain an immigration benefit.

Similarly, Sultana's husband, Mohammad Ali Rabbani, 58, admitted giving a false name, false citizenship information, and lying about his method of entry into the United States on his application for asylum and other immigration applications. In his application for naturalization, Rabbani gave false information regarding his citizenship status and falsely claimed he had not previously lied to U.S. immigration officials to obtain an immigration benefit.

The San Diego couple were previously employed as language instructors at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif.

Rabbani and Sultana were indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2011. Rabbani was charged with one count of attempted false procurement of naturalization. Sultana was charged with one count of false procurement of naturalization.

Rabbani and Sultana are scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 15 before U.S. District Court Judge Edward J. Davila. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of unlawful procurement or attempted procurement of citizenship is 10 years and a fine of $250,000. Sultana also faces mandatory revocation of her citizenship status.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Marie Ursini and Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Knight are prosecuting the case.

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