Prolific Human Trafficker, Whose Victims Included Children And Foreign Nationals, Sentenced To 35 Years In Federal Prison
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore sentenced Natasha Pierre (46, Davenport), a/k/a Elsie Petitfrere, to six months in federal prison for obtaining U.S. citizenship through false and misleading representations to U.S. immigration authorities. She pleaded guilty on August 30, 2017. The Court also entered an order denaturalizing Pierre and stripping her of her United States citizenship; she is now subject to deportation to Haiti.
According to her plea agreement and evidence presented in Court, Pierre first applied for asylum protection to remain in the United States in 1993, claiming that she had entered the United States from Haiti and feared persecution and arrest if she returned there. In June 1995, the INS rejected her application and ordered her to appear before an immigration judge for possible deportation proceedings. In July 1995, she failed to appear as directed and the court ordered her removal from the United States. The immigration judge also entered a warrant for her arrest and deportation.
While her case was still pending before the immigration court, Pierre assumed the new identity of Elsie Petitfrere and filed for legal protection and permanent resident status in the United States using this new identity and a different set of biographical data. In 2012, she applied for U.S. citizenship, and Petitfrere ultimately became a U.S. citizen on September 11, 2012.
In her immigration paperwork and application for citizenship, Petitfrere denied the use of prior names, denied having been subject to an order of deportation, and denied lying to immigration authorities. Photographic and fingerprint evidence later established that Pierre and Petitfrere were the same person and that Pierre had lied on several keys parts of her citizenship application.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This investigation was a part of “Operation Second Look,” a nationwide initiative of the Department of Homeland Security to review the files of hundreds of persons who were ordered deported from the United States but have not left the country as directed. The Pierre case is one of four similar investigations in the Tampa Bay area. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.