Naturalized U.S. Citizen Charged with Fraudulently Obtaining Citizenship by Failing to Disclose Role in Abuse of Prisoners
A naturalized U.S. citizen from Bosnia and Herzegovina was arrested yesterday in Morgantown, West Virginia, on criminal charges related to allegations that she lied to obtain U.S. citizenship.
According to the indictment, Nada Radovan Tomanic, 51, of West Virginia, allegedly served with the Zulfikar Special Unit of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the armed conflict in that country in the 1990s. Along with other Zulfikar Special Unit soldiers, Tomanic allegedly participated in the physical and mental abuse of Bosnian Serb prisoners targeted on the basis of their ethnicity, religion, and membership in a particular social group. The indictment alleges that, when applying for naturalization, Tomanic falsely represented that she had not persecuted anyone because of their religion, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion and had never committed a crime for which she had not been arrested.
“Nada Tomanic has enjoyed the privileges of U.S. citizenship for more than 10 years – privileges she allegedly obtained by lying to cover up human rights abuses she committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously enforce our nation’s immigration laws to ensure that the United States does not serve as a safe haven for persecutors.”
“It is alleged that this defendant shielded her past abuse of human rights and repeatedly lied during the immigration and citizenship processes to gain entry into this country and become a U.S. citizen,” said U.S. Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery for the District of Connecticut. “I thank our investigative partners both here and in Bosnia and Herzegovina for ignoring the passage of time to ensure that justice is done.”
“Nada Tomanic allegedly participated in the abuse of Bosnian Serb prisoners and lied about it to the U.S. government decades later,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI, our international partners, and the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center are fervently committed to investigating human rights abuses no matter where or how long ago the atrocity occurred.”
Tomanic is charged with two counts of unlawful procurement of naturalization. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each count. A conviction would also result in the automatic revocation of Tomanic’s U.S. citizenship.
The FBI is investigating the case, with coordination provided by the Department of Homeland Security’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS), along with the FBI’s International Human Rights Unit. The Justice Department thanks the Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia, and the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, which were instrumental in furthering the investigation.
Trial Attorney Elizabeth Nielsen of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull for the District of Connecticut are prosecuting the case, with assistance from HRSP historians. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance.
Members of the public who have information about human rights violators in the United States are urged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI (1-800-225-5324) or through the FBI’s online tip form at www.tips.fbi.gov/, or Homeland Security Investigations at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) or through ICE’s online tip form at www.ice.gov/webform/ice-tip-form.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.