Rwandan man charged in Massachusetts with immigration fraud and perjury
BOSTON — A Rwandan man, who fled his home country near the end of the 1994 genocide, was arrested in Massachusetts by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on Friday and charged in federal court with immigration fraud and perjury in connection with his application for benefits.
Jean Leonard Teganya, 46, was charged with one count of immigration fraud and one count of perjury. Teganya made his first appearance in federal court in Boston on Friday afternoon.
As alleged in court documents, approximately 800,000 people were murdered during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Prior to and during the Rwandan genocide, Teganya was a medical student and medical trainee at the Butare hospital in Butare, Rwanda. Several witnesses present in Butare during the genocide described Teganya as active in the political party of the genocidal regime, the MRND, and its militia, and stated that he actively participated in the persecution of Tutsis, the group that was largely targeted during the genocide.
According to court documents, Teganya left Rwanda in mid-July 1994, and traveled to Congo, India, and then Canada. In 1999, Teganya applied for immigration benefits in Canada. Canadian authorities twice determined that Teganya was not entitled to those benefits, and ordered his deportation because he had been complicit in atrocities committed at the Butare hospital during the genocide. After 15 years of litigation, Teganya evaded the order of deportation and fled across the border into the United States. On Aug. 3, 2014, Teganya was encountered walking on foot after he crossed from Canada into Houlton, Maine. Teganya was taken into custody and later made false statements on documents submitted to U.S. authorities by failing to disclose the extent of his affiliations and activities with the MRND and Hutu extremists.
The charge of immigration fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of perjury provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The investigation leading to Teganya’s arrest was conducted by special agents with ICE HSI in Boston and supported by ICE’s Boston Office of the Chief Counsel and ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC). Established in 2009 to further ICE’s efforts to identify, track, and prosecute human rights abusers, the HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians, and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders.
Since 2003, ICE has arrested more than 380 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders against and physically removed 785 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Additionally, ICE has facilitated the departure of an additional 108 such individuals from the United States.
Currently, HSI has more than 160 active investigations into suspected human rights violators and is pursuing more than 1,750 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries. Since 2003, the HRVWCC has issued more than 70,400 lookouts for individuals from more than 110 countries and stopped 213 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering the U.S.
Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to call the ICE Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2423 (1-866-347-2423). Callers may remain anonymous. To learn more about the assistance available to victims in these cases, the public should contact ICE’s confidential victim-witness toll-free number at 1-866-872-4973.
Acting United States Attorney William Weinreb and Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. State Department and the Revere Police Department provided valuable assistance. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aloke Chakravarty and John Capin of Weinreb’s National Security Unit.
The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.