Red Thumbed

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U.S. Citizenship comes with many rights and responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to respect and obey federal, state and local laws. A Haitian woman living in Winter Haven, Florida was so desperate to obtain U.S. Citizenship that she committed immigration fraud by lying on her naturalization application. (Her first application was rejected, causing her to be deported. When the tenacious Haitian tried once more, she lied about who she really was so she could become a citizen.)

 The Haitian woman was denied asylum in the U.S. by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) after submitting her application in Miami in 1997. (The Immigration Court had her deported following the ruling.)

It didn’t take the woman long before she reapplied, but this time under a different name. Unbeknownst to the INS, the Haitian woman concealed her true identity and was granted citizenship in July 2012. (Fifteen years was a long time to wait for the coveted designation, so she wasn’t about to reveal the truth about her situation.)

 When individuals apply for U.S. Citizenship, one way the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) acquires information about an individual’s immigration history is through fingerprint records. (That sounds like a great idea; however, a 2016 DHS report found that 858 individuals were granted citizenship even though their digital fingerprint records were not available. Today’s fraudster was one of those individuals.)

The Haitian woman’s fraudulent scheme was uncovered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Operation Second Look, which is an initiative to review the files of immigrants who were ordered deported, but never left the U.S. (Since fingerprint patterns are unique to each individual and do not change over time, this woman was caught red-handed, or perhaps red thumbed?)

The 56-year-old woman from Haiti, who was living in Winter Haven, Florida under a falsified identity, was convicted by a federal jury of immigration fraud for gaining U.S. Citizenship under a false identity. She is scheduled to be sentenced. (Based on other similar cases, she might be denaturalized and sentenced to six months in prison, but that’s up to the judge.)

 When individuals lie on their immigration documents, their fraudulent acts eat away at the principles that America was founded on and could put the county’s security at risk. (USCIS is explicit in defining the steps to naturalization, and applicants have to follow the directions.) It’s easy to understand how individuals would get impatient with the lengthy and painstaking process required to enjoy the benefits of U.S. Citizenship. This case so poignantly shows how serious the government is about protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals who follow the rules.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Winter Haven woman convicted of immigration fraud,” published by The Ledger on March 5, 2018.

TAMPA — A Haitian woman living in Winter Haven has been convicted in federal court of using a false identity to seek asylum in the United States.

Enite Alindor, 56, was denied asylum when she applied through the Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1997, and the Immigration Court ordered her to be removed from the country. Soon after that, she reapplied for asylum protection under the name Odette Dureland, according to the federal Department of Justice.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.