BOSTON - A Salvadoran man, now living in Everett, pleaded guilty to making false statements on immigration forms and committing perjury in order to remain in the United States.
Inocente Orlando Montano, 70, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to an Information charging him with three counts of immigration fraud and three counts of perjury. Had the case proceeded to trial, the evidence would have proved that Montano, a citizen of El Salvador served as an officer in the military of El Salvador for 30 years, including the period of El Salvador’s civil war, from 1979 through 1991. Montano also served as El Salvador’s Vice-Minister for Public Security from 1989 to 1992.
The Information alleges that, according to several reports published in the early 1990s, the Salvadoran military committed various human rights violations during the civil war, including torture, arbitrary detention, extrajudicial killings and disappearances. Such reports allege that certain human rights abuses were committed by troops directly under Montano’s command. In 1994, Montano retired from the military, and at some point thereafter left El Salvador, eventually coming to Massachusetts.
In or about 2002, Montano was present in the U.S. and, on several occasions thereafter, applied for and received Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a benefit the U.S. government extends to certain foreign nationals, permitting them to remain in the U.S. if they are unable to safely return to their home country because of ongoing armed conflict, the temporary effects of an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
In 2007, 2008, and 2010 Montano submitted TPS applications in which he falsely stated that he had entered the U.S. on June 30, 2000, which was a date before the deadline to apply for TPS. Montano entered the U.S. in July 2001, after the TPS deadline. Montano falsely stated his date of entry with the intent to deceive U.S. authorities because he knew that, if he had stated the correct entry date, he would have been ineligible for TPS.
Judge Woodlock scheduled sentencing for Dec. 18, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. Montano faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of the three counts of making false statements on an immigration application and a maximum of five years in prison on each of the three counts of perjury. All charges carry a maximum fine of $250,000 on each count, as well as deportation after serving the sentence the court imposes.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John A. Capin of Ortiz’s Antiterrorism and National Security Unit.