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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 9, 2017

Man Convicted of Smuggling Artifacts from Pakistan into United States

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Ijaz Khan, 42, of Sante Fe, New Mexico, was convicted today by a federal jury for multiple crimes, including his role in a conspiracy to smuggle ancient artifacts into the United States from Pakistan.

According to evidence presented at trial and court records, Khan was part of a conspiracy that smuggled ancient artifacts including pottery and bronze weapons, which were stolen from burial sites, and coins from a cave temple in Pakistan called the Kashmir Smast. Khan and Vera Lautt, 57, also of Santa Fe, New Mexico, used their business, Indus Valley, to sell the artifacts. One shipment of artifacts was stopped at Dulles International Airport in October 2013. Ijaz and others then attempted to obtain the shipment by submitting various false and fraudulent documents to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Khan was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States, procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully, conspiracy to smuggle goods into the United States, smuggling goods into the United States, mail fraud, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and obstruction of an official proceeding. Lautt was convicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Khan and Lautt submitted fraudulent documents to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which enabled Khan to immigrate to the United States in 2003 and later become a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2009. In order to further the conspiracy, Ijaz and Vera concealed Ijaz Khan’s wife and children in Pakistan. The conspiracy included eleven separate attempts to obtain immigration benefits by fraud, five of which were successful and another five of which were still pending as of the date of indictment. According to court records, Ijaz Khan used his fraudulently-obtained U.S. citizenship to cause the fraudulent immigration and naturalization of his four oldest children. Khan also filed petitions on behalf of his brother, mother and two youngest children.

Khan faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, while Lautt faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Both will be sentenced on May 5. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Steve A. Linick, Inspector General for the Department of State; and Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine L. Wong and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Harrison are prosecuting the case.

 

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-cr-130.

Topic(s): 
Immigration
StopFraud
Updated February 9, 2017