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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Two Colombian Nationals Plead Guilty to Making False Statements on Visa Application

U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that ALMA DE JESUS MOJICA HERRERA, age 52, and LEONARDO SERRATO POLANIA, age 42, both of Bogota, Colombia, pled guilty today to making false statements on their U.S. Nonimmigrant Online VISA applications.

According to court records, while in Colombia, MOJICA HERRERA and SERRATO POLANIA each completed a U.S. Nonimmigrant Online Visa Application (“Visa Application”) with the U.S. Department of State (“State Department”) and did not answer truthfully questions concerning their travel companions, the persons paying for their trip, and the location of their stay.  These Visa Applications were relied upon by federal agencies of the Executive Branch including by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in New Orleans and the U.S. State Department.  On September 28, 2015, MOJICA HERRERA and SERRATO POLANIA travelled from Bogota, Columbia and arrived in the United States at the New Orleans International Airport using the VISAs containing materially false statements.  On September 29, 2015, MOJICA HERRERA and SERRATO POLANIA were taken into custody by special agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”).

MOJICA HERRERA and SERRATO POLANIA each face a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.  In addition, both face a fine of $250,000 per count and up to three years of supervised release.  U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance set sentencing for August 24, 2016. 

U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-HSI,   U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Department of State in investigating this matter.  Fraud Unit Chief, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba is in charge of the prosecution.

Updated July 20, 2016