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Press Release

Former Embassy Employee Pleads Guilty to Domestic Violence

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A former employee of the U.S. Embassy in the Republic of Moldova pleaded guilty yesterday in a domestic violence case involving his wife, a U.S. diplomat working at the Embassy.

According to court documents, Ilirjan Shema, 46, accompanied his family to Chisinau, Moldova, where his spouse, an employee of the U.S. Department of State, was assigned to work as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Embassy. While in Moldova, Shema obtained a family member position to work at the Embassy. On April 10, 2021, while inside their official residence provided by the embassy, Shema attacked his wife, striking her, throwing her to the ground, and strangling her. The attack resulted in physical injuries. Shema was subsequently arrested on Aug. 5, 2021, when he traveled from Albania to Atlanta, Georgia. 

Shema pleaded guilty to a charge of interstate domestic violence. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 23, 2023 and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan for the Northern District of Georgia, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director Carlos Matus of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) made the announcement.

The DSS Office of Special Investigations is investigating the case with the assistance of the Regional Security Office, U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Trial Attorney Brian Morgan of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Gabay-Smith for the Northern District of Georgia are prosecuting the case.

Updated November 9, 2022

Press Release Number: 22-1204