Greenville Man Guilty of Passport Fraud
Columbia, South Carolina –------- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon stated that Gregory Orville Bertelsen, age 71, of Greenville, South Carolina, pled guilty today to making false statements to secure a passport in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1542. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.00. United States District Judge Donald C. Coggins, Jr., accepted the plea of guilty and will sentence Bertelsen at a later date.
Assistant United States Attorney David C. Stephens advised the Court of the following facts at the guilty plea hearing. In August 2016, a passport renewal application in the name of a person having the initials PDL was received via mail at the National Passport Center in New Hampshire. The return address for the application was Greenville, South Carolina. Due to certain questionable things on the application it was referred to Fraud Prevention Management (FPM).
FPM conducted records checks based on the name and identifiers used in the application and determined that PDL was actually a child who had died in 1952. FPM then used facial recognition software and were able to match the photo on the PDL application with the photo on a passport that Defendant Bertelsen had previously obtained. Bertelsen was interviewed and admitted that he had filed the false application for a passport in the name of PDL.
United States Attorney Lydon commended the State Department, Diplomat Security Service for their continuing vigilance in protecting our passport system.