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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Federal Jury Convicts Jacksonville Woman Of Passport Fraud

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury has found Syteria Hephzibah (62, Jacksonville) guilty of making a false statement on a passport application. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 15, 2016. Hephzibah was indicted on February 18, 2015.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Hephzibah submitted a passport application at a Putnam County Clerk’s Office using the name “Highly Favored Shekinah El.” To establish her identity in that name, she submitted a document that appeared to be a “Diplomat – Nationality Identification Card” and a name change document that appeared to have been issued by a court or other governmental body. Although Hephzibah was not a diplomat and the name change document had not been issued by any government agency, she signed the passport application under a declaration that she had not made false statements or submitted false documents in support of the application.

This case was investigated by the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arnold B. Corsmeier.

Updated April 28, 2016