U.S. Passport Fraud Operation Nets Fourteen Arrests in Georgia
The Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) has announced the successful conclusion of a major U.S. passport fraud investigation.
From February 5 to 7, the DSS 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.
According to Michael Foster, Special Agent in Charge of the DSS Miami Field Office, 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 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 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 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.”
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the U.S. Department of State’s law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of the Bureau are responsible for the security of 285 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel investigate passport and visa fraud, conduct personnel security investigations, and protect the Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States. More information about the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security may be obtained at www.state.gov/m/ds.