Indiana Man Arrested and Charged with Fraudulently Obtaining Citizenship for Failure to Disclose Alleged Crimes Committed in Bosnia and Military Service During Bosnian Conflict
A Crown Point, Indiana, man was arrested today after being charged with unlawfully procuring U.S. citizenship by allegedly failing to disclose during his naturalization process his Bosnian Serb Military service and charges of murder during the Bosnia Conflict in the 1990s.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Pat Miles of the Western District of Michigan and Acting Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Detroit made the announcement.
Alexander Kneginich, 56, was indicted under seal by a federal grand jury on Dec. 15, 2016, with fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship after he emigrated from Bosnia-Herzegovina to the United States. Kneginich was arrested in Kalamazoo, Michigan, this morning, and the indictment was unsealed after his initial appearance.
The indictment alleges that Kneginich told a series of lies to U.S. immigration authorities in the course of obtaining authority to enter the United States as a refugee, that enabled him to subsequently get permanent-resident status and ultimately attain U.S. citizenship. Specifically, when he applied for refugee status, Kneginich is alleged to have falsely stated that his wife was an ethnic Croatian and that, because he is Serbian, they had to flee Bosnia to avoid the persecution experienced by persons in ethnically-mixed marriages. In addition, the indictment alleges that Kneginich knowingly failed to disclose in both his refugee application and his permanent-resident application that he had served in Bosnian Serb Military units during the Balkans Conflict of the early 1990s; that he knowingly failed to disclose in those applications that he had been charged, jailed and tried in Bosnia for the 1994 murders of two Muslim civilians; and that he falsely stated in his naturalization application that he had never lied to U.S. immigration authorities to obtain immigration benefits.
HSI investigated the case. Trial Attorney Jamie Perry of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagen W. Frank of the Western District of Michigan are prosecuting the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance in this matter.