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Document and Benefit Fraud
01/15/2016

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Former Rwandan refugee in Iowa convicted of naturalization fraud

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A Rwandan native, who immigrated to the United States as a refugee in 1998, was convicted in federal court Friday after a four-day jury trial for fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship.

This conviction resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Ken Ngombwa, 56, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was convicted of the following crimes:

  • one count of unlawfully procuring or attempting to procure naturalization or citizenship;
  • one count of procuring citizenship to which he was not entitled;
  • one count of conspiracy to unlawfully procure citizenship; and
  • one count of making a materially false statement to agents of the Department of Homeland Security.

The evidence at trial showed Ngombwa knowingly made several material false statements to procure entry into the United States as a refugee from Rwanda in 1998. Notably, Ngombwa falsely claimed to be the brother of Faustin Twagiramungu, a former Prime Minister of Rwanda, who lives in exile in Belgium.

This case was referred to the Department of Homeland Security in 2011 by the Prosecutor General of Rwanda.

Ngombwa was ordered detained without bond following return of the verdict. A detention hearing has been set for Jan. 20 in federal court in Cedar Rapids. A sentencing date will be set after a presentence report is prepared.

If convicted on all counts, Ngombwa faces a possible maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment, a $1 million fine, $400 in special assessments, and 12 years of supervised release following any imprisonment. Ngombwa also faces loss of his citizenship in the United States, and deportation.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/19/2016