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Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
05/27/2016

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3 indicted for citizenship fraud, 2 indicted for smuggling artifacts into US

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Several individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for citizenship fraud and smuggling cultural artifacts into the United States. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Department of State’s (DOS) Office of Inspector General,

Three individuals – Ijaz Khan, 42, and Vera Lautt, 56, both of Sante Fe, New Mexico, and Ibrar Khan, of Pakistan – face charges for conspiracy to defraud the United States and naturalizing and procuring U.S. citizenship by fraud. Ijaz Khan, along with Fahad Khan, of Pakistan, face additional charges, including smuggling artifacts from Pakistan into the United States and obstructing justice.

According to the indictment, Ijaz Khan and Vera Lautt met online in 2001. In early 2002, Lautt travelled to Pakistan to meet Ijaz Khan for the first time in person and while there signed marriage documents.  Both Ijaz Khan and Lautt submitted fraudulent documents to DOS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which enabled Ijaz Khan to immigrate to the United States in 2003 and later become a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2009. When Ijaz Khan signed marriage documents with Lautt, he was married to a Pakistani woman, already had children and continued to have children with the Pakistani woman during his purported marriage to Lautt. The conspiracy included 11 separate attempts to obtain fraudulent immigration benefits, five of which were successful and another five which are still pending.

According to the indictment, Ijaz Khan allegedly used his fraudulently obtained U.S. citizenship to cause the fraudulent immigration and naturalization of his four oldest children.  Khan also assisted with a petition filed on behalf of his brother, Ibrar Khan. The indictment alleges that even before his four oldest children arrived from Pakistan, Ijaz Khan divorced Lautt and returned to Pakistan to obtain marriage documents for his Pakistani wife. Upon his return to the United States, while continuing to live with Lautt, Ijaz Khan allegedly began fraudulently filing for immigration benefits for his mother, his Pakistani wife and two additional children. The indictment also alleges that Ibrar Khan participated in the conspiracy to defraud USCIS and DOS and to procure U.S. citizenship by fraud.

According to the indictment, after Ijaz Khan immigrated to the United States, he, Fahad Khan and others conspired to smuggle Pakistani artifacts into the United States. From approximately 2007 through May 2014, Ijaz Khan used his business to facilitate the importation of smuggled Pakistani artifacts that he would then resell at shows, online and to established customers. 

The indictment further alleges in October 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspected and administratively seized a shipment of Pakistani artifacts. After Ijaz Khan became aware of the inspection, he, Fahad Khan and others conspired to submit various false and fraudulent documents to CBP as an attempt to have the agency release the shipment.

One of the conspirators is John Bryan McNamara, who previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with Ijaz Khan and Fahad Khan to smuggle artifacts into the United States and admitted he made false statements to special agents when questioned about the October 2013 shipment. Ijaz Khan and Fahad Khan are both charged in the indictment with conspiring to and making false statements associated with the criminal investigation and federal grand jury investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/01/2016