Boston - A Rwandan woman was sentenced today in federal court in connection with immigration fraud.
Prudence Kantengwa, a/k/a Prudentienne, 47, of Boston, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for immigration fraud, perjury in immigration court and obstruction of justice.
The case arose out of a civil conflict in Rwanda in which tensions between rival Tutsi and Hutu peoples burst into a government-sponsored genocide in which as many as 900,000 Rwandans, most of whom were of Tutsi origin, perished. The charges against Kantengwa stemmed from lies she told about her membership in the Hutu-dominated party in Rwanda, her husband’s role as the director of Rwanda’s internal security service, and her knowledge of the existence of a genocidal roadblock. The roadblock was erected in front of the residence where she spent half the period of the genocide in the company of individuals subsequently convicted of genocide in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Kantengwa was convicted of using a visa she fraudulently obtained to enter the United States. She obtained that visa by providing false information about her background on a questionnaire designed by the State Department to identify individuals involved in or associated with the genocidal government in Rwanda. Kantengwa was also convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with her testimony in immigration court in order to remain in the United States.
“This case should send a strong message to all those who would seek to cheat the immigration system by lying about their background or otherwise deceiving U.S. immigration authorities,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “The United States will not be a safe haven for those who lie or conceal their past in order to gain the privilege of living in this country.”
“No amount of prison time can adequately punish a person who had any role in the atrocities committed during the Rwandan genocide, but the surviving families can take solace in the fact that those responsible for this tragedy will be held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Bruce Foucart, of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. “The United States will never be a place where individuals seeking to distance themselves from their pasts can hide.”
“The Diplomatic Security Service is committed to making sure that those who commit visa and passport fraud face consequences for their criminal actions,” said Special Agent in Charge Todd Ziccarelli of the Diplomatic Security Service’s Boston Field Office. “Diplomatic Security’s strong relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement agencies around the world continues to be essential in the pursuit of justice.”
U.S. Attorney Ortiz, SAC Foucart and SAC Ziccarelli made the announcement today.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aloke S. Chakravarty, John Capin and Jeffrey Auerhahn of Ortiz’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.