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June 24, 2010

BOSTON, Mass. - A Liberian man was sentenced yesterday in federal court of committing perjury in immigration proceedings.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Matthew Etre, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Boston Field Division, announced today that RICHARD WILLIE, 30, of Liberia, was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner on two counts of perjury.

At a previous hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that WILLIE had come to the United States for the limited purpose to testify as a defense witness in the case of U.S. v. Roy Belfast a/k/a “Chucky” Taylor, in the Southern District of Florida. WILLIE did not testify and later absconded to Massachusetts, from where he applied for political asylum. In the course of a hearing on his application for political asylum and withholding of removal, WILLIE testified before an Immigration Court. In that testimony, WILLIE was asked, and falsely denied being a member of the Liberian Anti-Terrorist Unit and falsely denied submitting himself for demobilization to the United Nations. In so doing, WILLIE provided materially false testimony before the Immigration Court, in light of the fact that the anti-terrorist unit, which had been led by former Liberian President Charles Taylor, had engaged in numerous human rights violations during the conflict in Liberia, and WILLIE had attempted to conceal his involvement in that organization.

Judge Gertner sentenced WILLIE to 10 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release with the condition that if he is deported, that he is not to return to the United States.

The case was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aloke Chakravarty and Jeffrey Auerhahn of Ortiz’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.


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