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Document and Benefit Fraud
11/03/2014

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Iowa man from Rwanda indicted for naturalization fraud

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — An eastern Iowa man, originally from Rwanda, was indicted in federal court Tuesday with multiple counts related to illegally procuring U.S. citizenship.

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

Ken Ngombwa, 54, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been charged with the following crimes:

  • one count of unlawfully procuring or attempting to procure naturalization or U.S. 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 United States.

These charges are contained in an indictment unsealed Nov. 4 following Ngombwa’s arrest and initial appearance in Cedar Rapids.

The indictment alleges that beginning in March 1998, and continuing through at least November 2004, Ngombwa attempted to procure citizenship for himself and family members who accompanied him to the United States from Rwanda. According to the indictment, Ngombwa and others made a series of false statements that were used by U.S. immigration authorities to decide to grant Ngombwa refugee status, and later U.S. permanent resident alien status, which eventually permitted Ngombwa to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. The alleged false statements included a claim that Ngombwa is the brother of Faustin Twagiramungu, a former Prime Minister of Rwanda.

Ngombwa appeared Tuesday in federal court in Cedar Rapids and was released on bond later the same day. Ngombwa was ordered to surrender his passport, not travel outside of Linn County, Iowa, have no contact with potential witnesses concerning the case, and undergo a mental health evaluation.

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. Ngombwa also faces loss of his U.S. citizenship.

As with any criminal case, these charges are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless otherwise proven guilty.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/06/2014