Two Colombian Nationals Sentenced for 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 residents of Bogota, Colombia, were sentenced today for making false statements on their U.S. Nonimmigrant Online Visa applications.
U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance sentenced both MOJICA HERRERA and SERRATO POLANIA to eleven months incarceration. Following completion of their sentences, MOJICA HERRERA and SERRATO POLANIA will be surrendered to the custody of U.S. Immigration and customs Enforcement for removal proceedings
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”).
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 was in charge of the prosecution.