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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Former Mercyhurst University Employee Charged with Falsifying a Person’s Acceptance Status

ERIE, Pa. - A resident of Erie, Pennsylvania has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie on charges of use of a false visa, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.

The two-count indictment named Daniel Cabanillas, 47, of Erie, Pennsylvania, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment presented to the court, Cabanillas was the Designated School Official (DSO) for the Student Exchange Visitor Program at Mercyhurst University until he was terminated on February 19, 2015. The indictment alleges during the period he was employed as the DSO, Cabanillas did knowingly make materially false statements on Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status - for Academic and Language Students, subscribing to as true, the false certification of a person’s acceptance status at the university.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Marshall J. Piccinini is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Border Patrol conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated December 12, 2017