ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Ghanaian national residing in Alexandria, Va., was convicted Thursday by a federal jury of unlawfully procuring U.S. citizenship under a false identity following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).
"This conviction is another great example of the value of collaboration between ICE ERO and our state and local counterparts in law enforcement," said Henry Lucero, field office director for the ICE ERO office in Washington, D.C.
Lady Jacqueline Locotin, aka Joyce Amene Obese, who was indicted on Aug. 18, 2011, was convicted Thursday of unlawfully procuring naturalization; which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; two counts of passport fraud, which each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years; and the misuse of a Social Security number, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
According to court records and evidence at trial, Locotin first entered the United States in March 1992 under a false name and travel documents. While in the United States awaiting an immigration hearing, Locotin applied for and received a Social Security number using the name and identification documents of Lady Jacqueline Locotin. She failed to appear for her immigration hearing in October 1993 and was ordered excluded from the United States. She had a child in 1996 while still in the United States but left voluntarily sometime between the birth of her child and March 1997 while an order of exclusion was outstanding.
In March 1997, Locotin received a visa to enter the United States under the name of Joyce Amene Obese as the dependent spouse of a diversity visa lottery winner. In her application, she failed to report her previous stay in the United States as well as the child born in 1996 while she was under an order of removal. She used the fraudulent identity to enter the United States, obtain a U.S. passport and become a naturalized U.S. citizen under the Obese alias.
She was arrested after the Alexandria Police Department located Locotin hiding in the closet of her Alexandria home on June 7, 2011. Examination of photographs and fingerprint evidence verified that Locotin and Obese were the same individual.
Locotin is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 10, 2012.
This case was investigated by ICE ERO and the Alexandria Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Ronald L. Walutes Jr. and Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael Frank are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.