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Press Release

Kenyan Man Pleads Guilty To Lying To The FBI

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Fuwad Twalib Nassir, 29, of Mombasa, Kenya, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo to making a material false statement to law enforcement. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan T. Cullinane, who is handling the case, stated that on April 2, 2018, the U.S. Department of State granted the defendant a C-1/D Crewmember in Transit visa in order for Nassir to work aboard a cruise ship that intended to dock in the United States. Among other conditions, a C-1/D visa holder must abide by the employer’s terms and conditions in order to possess a valid visa.

On October 4, 2018, while working aboard the cruise ship, the defendant entered the United States in Port Canaveral, Florida via the visa. However, on October 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of State cancelled Nassir’s visa after he failed to return to work on the ship. A few days later, on October 23, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers encountered the defendant as he attempted to enter Canada at the Niagara Falls port of entry. Nassir was taken into custody.

Subsequently, on October 25, 2018, and again on January 22, 2019, during interviews with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the defendant stated that after he failed to return to the boat in Port Canaveral, he paid a stranger to drive him from Florida to Niagara Falls. The FBI’s investigation determined, however, that Nassir unlawfully traveled from Florida to New York with three individuals, all of whom were familiar to him. 

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Rose Brophy, Director of Field Operations.  

Sentencing is scheduled for August 5, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. before Judge Vilardo.

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Updated March 28, 2019