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Enforcement and Removal

Virginia woman sentenced for gaining US citizenship through fraud

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — An immigrant from Ghana residing in Alexandria was sentenced Friday to 18 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for unlawfully procuring U.S. citizenship under a false identity.

The case involving Lady Jacqueline Locotin, a/k/a Joyce Amene Obese, 44, was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and the Alexandria Police Department.

U.S. District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema also entered an order holding that Locotin's naturalization was void and that she is no longer considered a U.S. citizen. Following her prison term, Locotin will be transferred to ICE custody for removal proceedings.

Locotin was convicted by a federal jury on Nov. 17, 2011, of unlawfully procuring naturalization, two counts of passport fraud and the misuse of a social security number.

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 and 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.

Locotin was arrested after the Alexandria Police Department located her 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.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Walutes Jr. and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Frank.