Citizenship in the United States is among the most desired in the world. It provides access to numerous government benefits, the ability to live and travel visa-free in the United States and its territories, and access to one of the worlds largest economies.
Because there are so many benefits associated with United States citizenship, the Federal Government closely monitors and enforces laws designed to prevent individuals from selling their citizenship.
“Sale of Naturalization or Citizenship Papers”
Despite federal law 18 U.S.C.A. § 1427 is codified as the “sale of naturalization or citizenship papers,” the law also prohibits the sale or transfer of any evidence of citizenship or proof of naturalization.
Furthermore, 18 U.S.C.A. § 1015 prohibits “knowingly makes any false certificate, acknowledgment or statement concerning…” any “certificate of naturalization, certificate of citizenship or other paper or writing required or authorized by the laws relating to immigration, naturalization, citizenship, or registry of aliens[.]
The Laws Against the Sale of Citizenship Papers are Broad
Because of the broad scope of the laws against the sale of citizenship papers, occasionally individuals may find themselves accused of actions they did not realize were illegal.
If you or a loved one have been accused of the sale of citizenship papers for any reason, our highly trained attorneys can help.
Many of our attorneys have extensive backgrounds in criminal law, and thoroughly understand the process of defending against a charge of the sale of citizenship papers. Whatever your situation we can help you defend against accusations of the sale of citizenship papers.
What Puts a Person At Risk of Being Prosecuted For The “Sale of Citizenship Papers.”
Under United States federal law anyone who duplicates, sells, or transfers any documentation or evidence related to United States citizenship, naturalization as a United States citizen, or registration as an alien within the United States, is subject to punishment under federal law.
What Are the Penalties for Selling Your Citizenship Papers?
An individual convicted under 18 U.S.C.A. § 1427, may face between 10 to 25 years in prison depending on the purpose for which they furnished the documents. Furthermore, under 18 U.S.C.A. § 1015 they may also be punished by a fine or imprisonment of up to five years.
Only The Government May Issue Citizenship Documents
Under United States law only the government and other legally authorized parties may issue citizenship documents. The key factors in the prosecution of the sale of citizenship papers are whether any documents were sold or transferred, what type of documents they were, and what the intention of the parties was in arranging for the transfer. Prosecutors need to look for evidence of all elements to prove their case.
A conviction for the sale of citizenship papers carries with it an extremely heavy penalty, and therefore, if you or a loved one have been accused of such a crime, you need to reach out to a skilled attorney immediately.
Federal Laws – “Sale of Citizenship Papers”
Selling, Duplicating, or Improperly Disposing
Under federal law, the sale of citizenship papers has been placed into statute as 18 U.S.C.A. § 1427. This statute states that if an individual “sells or disposes of a declaration of intention to become a citizen, certificate of naturalization, certificate of citizenship or copies or duplicates or other documentary evidence of naturalization or citizenship” that they may be punished by imprisonment of up to 25 years.
Creating or Producing False Citizenship Documents
Another statute 18 U.S.C.A. § 1015 carries penalties for individuals who knowingly create or produce false documents related to citizenship, naturalization, and alien registration. This statute contains a separate possible prison sentence of up to five years as well as the possibility of a fine.
Making a False Claim
It is also illegal, under 18 U.S.C. § 1015(e) and (f), to make a false claim of citizenship to obtain federal or state benefits or to vote in a federal or state election. These offenses also carry a possible prison sentence of up to five years as well as the possibility of a fine.
The sale of citizenship papers as encoded in 18 USCA § 1427 has a number of related crimes. An individual who has received falsified citizenship papers and who seeks to then use those falsified documents commits a number of other crimes.
18 U.S.C. § 1015 explicitly prohibits the use of falsified papers by a non-citizen for purposes related to naturalization, citizenship, or alien registration, or to vote in a Federal or State election, or to obtain federal benefits. Each separate charge carries a fine or imprisonment time of five years.
Because the misuse of citizenship papers is punished severely in the United States anyone charged with such a violation should immediately consult a highly skilled defense attorney.
Major Cases Related to the Sale of Citizenship Papers
There have been a handful of major cases that have expanded on the 18 USCA § 1427 prohibition on the sale of citizenship papers.
- Generally, these cases have expanded the scope of things that are considered “citizenship papers.” One notable case is Dolan v. United States, in which a certified copy of the record of a court showing the admission of an alien to citizenship constitutes a “certificate of citizenship.”
- Often sale of citizenship papers cases involves other criminal matters. In one case from 2012, Edy Oliverez-Jiminez, a cartel-affiliated crime lord was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for racketeering, murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to produce and transfer false identification documents.
Because of the associated criminal activities, and because of the immense benefits of United States citizenship. US Authorities closely monitor and investigate the sale of citizenship papers.
Defense attorneys defending against charges for the sale of citizenship papers must be prepared to tackle other associated charges. Our highly skilled attorneys understand the US criminal law system and will help you or your loved one put together the best possible defense.
What Agencies Investigate and Prosecute the Sale of Citizenship Papers?
Investigations for the sale of citizenship papers are generally handled by:
- the United States Justice Department, and
- the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency (USCIS).
Typically USCIS will investigate individuals who are brought to their attention for any violations of immigration law they may have committed. When they discover evidence that an individual has engaged in the sale or purchase of citizenship papers, they refer the case to the US Justice Department for prosecution.
The US Justice Department then examines the case, paying attention to the reasons for the illegal transfer of citizenship papers, what papers were transferred, and how they may have been used. Once all evidence is gathered the US Justice Department then proceeds to criminal prosecution.
What Are The Penalties for Conviction of the Sale of Citizenship Papers?
Individuals who are charged with the sale of citizenship papers face serious consequences if they are convicted. The penalties for being convicted of the case of citizenship papers under 18 USCA § 1427 vary depending on the reasons for the transfer.
At a minimum, individuals convicted of a charge under the statute face up to 10 years in prison if the conviction was their first or second such offense, and if the offense was not committed to facilitate such an act of international terrorism or a drug trafficking crime.
In the case of a third offense unrelated to international terrorism or a drug trafficking crime, they face up to 15 years in prison.
Facilitating Drug Trafficking
If the offense was committed to facilitate a drug trafficking, they face 20 years
Facilitating International Terrorism
if it was to facilitate international terrorism, they face up to 25 years regardless of whether or not this was their first offense.
Since these are severe penalties and since they can include lengthy prison time it is important to contact a skilled criminal law attorney to handle your case. If you or a loved one have been charged with the sale of citizenship papers, do not hesitate to give us a call.
What Is The Best Defense to the Sale of Citizenship Papers?
To successfully prosecute the sale of citizenship papers, a prosecutor must prove that an accused individual has violated all elements of the offense under 18 USCA § 1427.
Good defense attorneys understand how to successfully defend against such charges by attacking certain elements of the statute to avoid conviction.
Since the punishment for conviction varies greatly depending on intent, a skilled defense attorney will work to ensure that their client has the best possible defense by bringing evidence that they are not a habitual offender and that the offense was unrelated to drug trafficking or international terrorism.
Through carefully developed legal strategies our attorneys will be able to assist you or your loved ones in defending against charges of the sale of citizenship papers.
Do I Need an Attorney If I Am Charged With the Sale of Citizenship Papers?
Anyone who has been charged with the sale of citizenship papers or who has had a family member charged should contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.
Defending against a sale of citizenship papers charge requires an attorney to consider the many possible additional crimes with which an individual may be charged, and to work to put together a strong defense.
It is also important to never speak to any investigators or authorities without having first spoken with a skilled attorney as the consequences of a conviction can be incredibly severe. If you or a loved one have been charged with the sale of citizenship papers, do not hesitate to contact our firm for assistance in defending against these serious charges.
“Sale of Citizenship Papers” in the News
Iraqi Refugee Guilty of Falsifying His Identity to Gain United States Citizenship
Charge: Falsely procuring U.S. citizenship
Allegations: falsely procuring U.S. citizenship, fraud, providing false information to the immigration official, perjury.
In 2015, Ali Al-Kadumi, an Iraqi refugee living in Jefferson County, Kentucky was found guilty this week in U.S. District Court of falsely procuring U.S. citizenship. He faces a sentence of up to but no more than ten years in prison and a three year period of supervised release.
Mr. Al-Kadumi concealed his identity when he falsely stated his current legal name was “Hussein Naji Selman” on his 2008 Application for Naturalization. He was interviewed by a U.S. immigration official in Damascus, Syria and then completed and signed his refugee application using the stolen identity. At the time, Al-Kadumi stated he had a brother living in Louisville, Kentucky, who was actually the real Hussein Naji Selman’s brother.
Following a two day trial, a federal jury deliberated just over one hour before finding Ali Al-Kadumi, 45, guilty of the charge. Following the verdict, defendant Al-Kadumi was denaturalized and then detained pending sentencing by Judge Greg N. Stivers, who presided over the trial.
Document Broker Pleads Guilty to Role in Trafficking Identities of Puerto Rican U.S. Citizens
Charge: Multiple charges in relation to the sale of citizenship papers.
Allegations: false personation of U.S. citizenship, fraud and misuse of visas and conspiracy to possess and transfer identification documents.
In 2017, Sandro Tavera Mora, aka Jose Laureano Ayala, 46, a Dominican citizen residing in Springfield, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni of the District of Massachusetts, to false personation of U.S. citizenship, fraud, and misuse of visas and conspiracy to possess and transfer identification documents.
According to admissions made in connection with the plea, identity document runners located in the Savarona area of Caguas, Puerto Rico, obtained Puerto Rican identities and corresponding identity documents. Other conspirators located in various cities throughout the United States, identified as identity document suppliers and brokers, solicited customers and sold social security cards and corresponding Puerto Rico birth certificates for prices ranging from $400 to $1,200 per set.
While he has not yet been sentenced, he faces substantial jail time and will be subject to asset forfeiture for the illegal sale of citizenship documents.
Manager for Violent Fraudulent Document Ring Sentenced to Two Life Sentences for Murdering Rival Vendor
Charge: Multiple charges in relation to the sale of citizenship papers, murder.
Allegations: racketeering, murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to produce and transfer false identification documents
In 2012, Edy Oliverez-Jiminez, aka “Daniel,” Erasmo,” “Ulysses” and “Jesus,” 25, of Virginia Beach, Va., was sentenced today to two consecutive life terms on prison, after having been convicted by a jury for racketeering, murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to produce and transfer false identification documents.
Edy Oliverez-Jiminez in affiliation with other members of a Mexican-based cartel sold citizenship papers, engaged in human trafficking, kidnapping, and murder. In an effort to eliminate his competition in the market for citizenship papers, Edy Oliverez-Jiminez murdered his competitors in cold blood.
Looking for a Citizenship Papers Attorney? – Call Us Now
Charges of the sale of citizenship papers can have a devastating impact on your family, your reputation, your liberty, and your future.
That is why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Our attorneys understand prosecutions for the sale of citizenship papers and can help you understand the charges that are being brought against you or your loved one. We can accompany you to interrogations and ensure that your rights are not violated. Ultimately, our goal is to help you establish a legitimate defense.
We have the knowledge and background to successfully defend anyone prosecuted for the sale of citizenship papers charges against any penalties they may face.
We have assisted numerous individuals charged with the sale of citizenship papers in the past and would love to help assist you in your case.
We help our clients deal with government investigations for the sale of citizenship papers and ensure they receive the strongest possible defense.
If you or someone you love has been charged with the sale of citizenship papers, call our attorneys for a free legal consultation.