Defendants Applied for Passports Under False Names or Attempted to Enter the United States Using Fraudulent U.S. Passports
SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Legal News, Legal Jobs Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that between January 2005 and the present, 33 defendants have been convicted of passport or false identification offenses in Northern California These convictions were the result of criminal investigations conducted by the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), which investigates passport fraud for the U.S. State Department. The San Francisco Field Office of DSS is headed by Special Agent In-Charge Thomas Depenbrock.
According to various court documents and proceedings, between January 2005 and the present, most of the defendants obtained birth certificates and other identification cards in false names. The defendants then submitted applications for United States passports in these false names and also submitted the false birth certificates and identification cards with their passport applications. The U.S. State Department issues all United States passports and scrutinizes applications for evidence of fraud during processing and issuance. In almost all of the cases, the defendants’ passport applications were flagged for fraud during this processing and no passport was ever issued. After their passport applications were flagged for fraud, DSS Special Agents located and arrested the defendants. In some of the cases, the defendants self-surrendered to DSS Special Agents at pre-arranged court times.
U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan stated, “Fraudulent passports can have serious implications for our national security and I thank the DSS for their continuing effort to investigate and bring these cases to our office for prosecution. We will continue to take passport fraud seriously, as these criminal prosecutions show.”
The defendants pleaded guilty to federal passport fraud or related false identification document offenses and received sentences ranging from felony confinement to supervised release. Passport fraud carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years confinement and in some cases carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years confinement.
DSS Special Agent In-Charge Thomas Depenbrock stated, “Make no mistake about it, American passports are off-limits. These convictions make it clear that criminal prosecution awaits anyone who applies for, obtains, or uses a passport in another person’s name.”
Residences of the Defendants:
Burlingame – Two Defendants
Concord – Two Defendants
Daly City – One Defendant
El Cerrito – One Defendant
Fremont – Two Defendants
Gilroy – One Defendant
Greenbrae – One Defendant
Hayward – One Defendant
Milpitas – One Defendant
Mountain View – Two Defendants
Petaluma – One Defendant
Redwood City – One Defendant
Salinas – One Defendant
San Jose – Four Defendants
San Mateo – Three Defendants
San Rafael – One Defendant
Santa Rosa – Five Defendants
Sonoma – Two Defendants
San Francisco – One Defendant
Since September the 11th, the United States Attorney’s Office and DSS have increased investigations and prosecutions of persons who obtain false travel documents. These arrests represent only some of the persons who have been prosecuted for passport offenses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Anyone involved in or aware of passport fraud or the underground sale of American birth certificates is encouraged to contact the Diplomatic Security Service at (415) 705-1176.
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service should be directed to Special Agent in Charge Tom Depenbrock at 415-297-0240, or Assistant Special Agent in Charge Pat Durkin at 415-298-5402. Press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected].