New York Notary Public Pleads Guilty to Aiding and Abetting VISA Fraud
Concord, N.H. — Acting United States Attorney John J. Farley announced that Mohammed Abdul Baten, 65, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty today to aiding and abetting visa fraud.
According to court records and statements in court, the case arose out an investigation into falsely notarized documents used to obtain visas. Specifically, when a legal immigrant seeks to petition to have other alien relatives admitted into the country, the National Visa Center (“NVC”) requires that the petitioner demonstrate a sufficient income level to support the relatives upon their arrival. This process is intended to ensure that the new immigrants will not become public charges after they enter the country. If the petitioner does not have enough income, he or she may submit paperwork in which another person, i.e. the “joint sponsor,” agrees to provide financial support for the new arrivals. The joint sponsor also is required to document his or her own income and assets to ensure sufficient resources will be available. The joint sponsor is required to complete an I-864 form under penalties of perjury.
In this case, a number of submissions to the NVC contained repeat joint sponsors appearing to support large numbers of petitioners. Further investigation revealed that many of these joint sponsors had not, in fact, agreed to serve as joint sponsors and did not sign the I-864 forms purporting to bear their signatures. Rather, the I-864 forms had been forged and were falsely notarized by Baten in his capacity as a notary public in Brooklyn, New York. In this respect, Baten’s notarizations were a material aid to the petitioners’ submissions of false and misleading documents to the NVC.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for October 3, 2017.
This matter was investigated by the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles L. Rombeau.