Vermont Man Charged with Obtaining U.S. Citizenship by Failing to Disclose Violent Crimes Committed During the Bosnian Conflict
Edin Sakoc, 54, of Burlington, Vt., was arrested today on charges that he obtained his naturalized citizenship through fraud by failing to disclose his prior acts of persecution and crimes committed during the Bosnian conflict, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Tristram J. Coffin of the District of Vermont, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge in Boston Bruce M. Foucart and Special Agent in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the FBI’s Albany, N.Y., Field Office.
According to the indictment filed in Burlington, Sakoc committed naturalization fraud by providing false and fraudulent information about his commission of crimes and his participation in the persecution of Bosnian Serbs during the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Specifically, the indictment alleges that, in July 1992, Sakoc kidnapped and raped a Bosnian Serb woman and aided and abetted the murder of her elderly mother and aunt. Sakoc also allegedly aided and abetted the burning of the victims’ family home. According to the indictment, Sakoc allegedly failed to disclose his participation in these activities during his immigration and naturalization process.
Sakoc was charged in a two-count indictment filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court in the District of Vermont. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison as well as automatic revocation of his U.S. citizenship and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case is being investigated jointly by HSI Burlington and the FBI’s Albany Division. ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center assisted in this investigation. Valuable assistance was provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and its counterpart at the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Members of the public who have information about former human rights violators in the United States are urged to contact U.S. law enforcement through the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll-free at 1-800-813-5863 or the HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or to complete its online tip form at www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Matthew C. Singer of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia Cowles of the District of Vermont.
The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.