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Document and Benefit Fraud
04/06/2008

Superseding indictment returned against Cape Verdean native alleging immigration fraud, false statements, perjury in immigration court and obstruction

BOSTON - A Cape Verde man was charged today in federal court with false statements and perjury in connection with a visa application and application for asylum, as well as perjury in testimony in support of his asylum claim.

United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, Bruce M. Foucart, special agent-in-charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Investigations in Boston, Warren T. Bamford, special agent-in-charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New England Field Division, and James P. Ennis, special agent-in-charge of the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service announced today that Carlos Da Graca Lopes, age 45, of Cape Verde, was charged in a superseding indictment with seven counts of fraud in immigration documents, five counts of perjury, one count of false statements and one count of obstruction of justice.

The superseding indictment alleges that on June 26, 2004, in Praia, Cape Verde, the defendant submitted an application for a non-immigrant visa that contained a number of false statements, and provided false information during an interview with a consular officer. According to the superseding indictment, on May 30, 2007, after arriving in the United States, the defendant submitted an application for asylum that also contained a number of false statements. It is alleged that in August and September 2007, the defendant testified in Immigration Court in support of his application for asylum. The superseding indictment alleges that some of Lopes' testimony at this hearing was perjurous, and that he endeavored to obstruct the proceedings in Immigration Court.

If convicted on these charges, Lopes faces up to 10 years imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $ 250,000 fine, on each of the seven counts that allege fraud in connection with immigration documents; and 5 years imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years supervised release and a $250,000 fine on each of the remaining seven counts.

The case was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, New England Field Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New England Field Division, and the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aloke S. Chakravarty of Sullivan's Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.