Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Kansas Man Convicted of Visa Fraud

WASHINGTON – A Kansas man who previously resided in Rwanda was convicted today of visa fraud, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton.

After a five-week trial and three days of deliberation, a federal jury in the District of Kansas found Lazare Kabaya Kobagaya, 84, of Topeka, Kan., guilty of one count of visa fraud.  The jury was unable to reach a verdict with regard to one count of immigration fraud, resulting in the court declaring a mistrial on that count.

Based on court documents and information presented at trial, the jury found that Kobagaya lied during his immigration process about where he resided from 1993 to 1995.  The government alleged that Kobagaya lied when he stated that he lived in Burundi rather than Rwanda during this time period.  During trial, the government argued that the lie was material because it prevented the government from examining Kobagaya’s activities during the 1994 genocide that occurred in Rwanda.

Kobagaya faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.  A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorneys Christina P. Giffin, Steven C. Parker and Deputy Chief Robert G. Thomson of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP), with support from Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger for the District of Kansas.  The case was investigated by ICE Homeland Security Investigations Resident Agent in Charge in Wichita, Kan.

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