ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A Yemeni citizen was arrested Thursday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents on three counts of making false statements about his immigration status.
Tuffek Mohammed Ali Saleh, 41, was arrested in Rochester and charged by criminal complaint with making a false statement on an immigration document, making a false statement to an immigration official and making a false claim of United States citizenship. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
According to the complaint, in April 2012 the defendant applied for U.S. citizenship under the name Yehya Muthana Ali. During the processing of Saleh's application, it was determined that the defendant had previously applied to enter the United States using a different identity. The complaint further alleges that during a subsequent interview with immigration officials, Saleh failed to disclose that he in fact previously went by other names.
In April 2013, Saleh walked into a New York State Lottery Claims Center in Rochester and presented a torn scratch off ticket claiming to have won $3,000,000. As a result, the defendant filled out a Claim Form Worksheet and indicated that he was a U.S. citizen. According to the New York State Lottery, citizenship is material to the awarding of any lottery winnings because citizens and non-citizens are taxed at different rates.
The New York State Police provided substantial support during HSI’s investigation of Saleh.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.