Saturday, May 8, 2010

Somali Man Got Green Card Through Fraud

Last Update: 5/04 6:29 pm

SAN DIEGO - A Somali man who falsely claimed in an asylum application that he had spent time in a Kenyan refugee camp and hid his arrest for sexual assault in Canada was convicted in San Diego Tuesday of possessing a permanent resident green card obtained by fraud.

According to an indictment and evidence produced at trial, Sufyaan Mohamed traveled to Canada in 1995, where he applied for, but was denied, refugee status.

In February 1998, while the defendant was still in Canada, Toronto police arrested him on charges of sexual assault and threatening death, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sabrina Feve.

According to evidence produced at trial, Mohamed fled Canada before trial and a Canadian warrant was issued for his arrest.

The defendant, now 41, arrived in the United States in late 1998 and filed an application for asylum, according to prosecutors.

But in the application, the defendant concealed both the time that he spent in Canada and his arrest there by falsely claiming that he had spent the last several years in a Kenyan refugee camp, Feve said.

Unaware of his true history, the United States granted Mohamed asylum, according to prosecutors.

According to trial evidence, the defendant later applied for a green card, falsely stating that he had never been arrested and again concealing his prior life in Canada, and the United States granted him application.

At trial, however, prosecutors presented certified records from the Toronto police and the Canadian immigration authorities documenting the defendant's history in Canada. The records included the defendant's Canadian refugee application, which contained a story of his alleged persecution in Somalia that differed substantially from the story he later told United States authorities when applying for asylum here.

Mohamed is scheduled to be sentenced July 30 by U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino.

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