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Document and Benefit Fraud
10/08/2009

Minnesota man sentenced on aggravated identity theft charges

DETROIT - A Minneapolis man was sentenced Thursday to 24 months in federal prison for aggravated identity theft following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Bile Abdullahi, 33, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on June 16 to the criminal charges and was sentenced on Oct. 8 to two years in prison. According to the investigation, Abdullahi presented his brother's passport as his own to U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) agents during a routine transportation check at a Greyhound facility in Detroit. He also falsely told the Border Patrol agents he was a U.S. citizen, both of which are federal offenses. USBP agents turned the case over to ICE special agents to initiate an investigation.

"Using another individual's identification documents and providing false information to federal law enforcement officers are serious offenses in and of themselves," said Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Michigan and Ohio. "The sentencing today reflects the commitment of ICE and the U.S. Attorney's Office to ensure those who defy these laws will pay the consequences."

"A clear threat is present any time a person tries to gain access to the United States by using a false passport," said United States Attorney Terrence Berg. "In this case, the Border Patrol and ICE were able to catch the attempted illegal entry under false passport, and they are to be commended for their vigilance and professionalism."

U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection assisted ICE in the investigation.

In 2008, ICE conducted 3,636 document and benefit fraud investigations, making 1,652 criminal arrests, 1,776 administrative arrests and seizures of nearly $10.3 million.