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Justice News

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

Friday, May 27, 2016

Three Indicted for Smuggling Artifacts into U.S. and Citizenship Fraud

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Ijaz Khan, 42, and Vera Lautt, 56, both of Sante Fe, New Mexico, and Ibrar Khan of Pakistan, were indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday for a conspiracy to defraud the United States and naturalizing and procuring U.S. citizenship by fraud. Ijaz Khan faces additional charges, along with Fahad Khan of Pakistan, for conspiring to smuggle and for smuggling artifacts from Pakistan into the United States, and for conspiring to obstruct justice and for obstructing justice.

According to the indictment, Ijaz Khan and Vera Lautt met on the Internet in 2001. In early 2002, Lautt travelled to Pakistan to meet Ijaz Khan for the first time in person and while there signed marriage documents.  Both Ijaz Khan and Lautt submitted fraudulent documents to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which enabled Ijaz Khan to immigrate to the United States in 2003 and later become a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2009.  At the time Ijaz Khan signed marriage documents with Lautt, he was in a marital relationship with a Pakistani woman, already had children, and continued to have children with the Pakistani woman during his purported marriage to Lautt.  The conspiracy included eleven separate attempts to obtain immigration benefits by fraud, five of which were successful and another five of which are still pending.

According to the indictment, Ijaz Khan allegedly used his fraudulently obtained U.S. citizenship to cause the fraudulent immigration and naturalization of his four oldest children.  Khan also assisted with a petition filed on behalf of his brother, Ibrar Khan. The indictment alleges that even before his four oldest children arrived from Pakistan, Ijaz Khan divorced Lautt and returned to Pakistan to obtain marriage documents for his Pakistani wife. Upon his return to the United States, while continuing to live with Lautt, Ijaz Khan allegedly began fraudulently filing for immigration benefits for his mother, his Pakistani wife, and two additional children. The indictment also alleges that Ibrar Khan participated in the conspiracy to defraud USCIS and DOS, and to procure U.S. citizenship by fraud.

According to the indictment, after Ijaz Khan immigrated to the United States, Ijaz Khan, Fahad Khan and others conspired to smuggle Pakistani artifacts into the United States, from approximately 2007 through at least May 2014, Ijaz Khan used his business to facilitate the importation of smuggled Pakistani artifacts that he would then resell at shows, online, and to established customers. 

The indictment further alleges that in October 2013, a shipment of Pakistani artifacts was inspected and later administratively seized by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). After Ijaz Khan became aware of the inspection, he, Fahad Khan and others conspired to submit various false and fraudulent documents to CBP in an attempt to cause CBP to release the shipment. One of the conspirators is John Bryan McNamara, who previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with Ijaz Khan and Fahad Khan to smuggle artifacts into the United States and admitted he made false statements to special agents when questioned about the October 2013 shipment.  Ijaz Khan and Fahad Khan are both charged in the indictment with conspiring to and making false statements associated with the criminal investigation and federal grand jury investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia.   

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, and Steven A, Linick, Inspector General, Department of State Office of Inspector General, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Wong and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian D. Harrison are prosecuting the case.  The case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Department of State’s Office of Inspector General.

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 and 1:15-cr-307.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Updated May 31, 2016