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Fraudulently Obtaining Citizenship

Title 18 USC, section 1425(b) prohibits a person from knowingly obtaining citizenship or being naturalized when he is not entitled to this status.

In a complaint filed by the government posted under the category of recent criminal filings in a separate section of the website an Information setting forth a violation of Title 18 USC section 1425(b) was filed against Cha Da Liu a previous resident of El Cerito California and a Guatemalan. See Case No: 1:13-cr-20829-RSR.

In that case the defendant was charged by criminal Information instead of an Indictment. Generally when the defendant is charged by Information it signifies that the Government and defense have come to an agreement for the defendant to enter a guilty plea to the charges set forth in an Information without the necessity of presenting the case to a Grand Jury which would normally return an Indictment.

Chi Da Liu, 55, also known as Zhida Liao was arrested on charges of fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship, in connection with the above explained United States Code provision after his arrest in Oakland California in early September of this year. He was then ordered by a U.S. Magistrate Judge that he be held and then taken by the U.S. Marshals Service to the Southern District of Florida. He made his initial appearance on November 5 in Miami Federal Court in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman. Waving his right to grand jury indictment he then agreed to move forward by information. This information contends that Liu, with complete knowledge applied for and endeavored to gain U.S. citizenship and presented evidence of naturalization and citizenship in San Francisco, California, to which he was not entitled to, on or about October 4, 2010.

Liu was formerly convicted in two separate cases in 2011 and 2012 in the Southern District of Florida. The first was for visa fraud, and the other, a conviction for alien smuggling. Liu agreed to self-deport from the United States within a five day period after his release from federal prison as well as willingly renounce his U.S. citizenship thereafter within a 10 day timeframe based on his plea agreement. Although Liu was released from incarceration on July 15, he didn’t leave the United States preceding his arrest on September 3.

A conviction based on this information will affect Liu by issuing a mandatory withdrawal of his U.S. citizenship and termination of his naturalization certificate. He also will face a fine of $250,000 as well as a maximum term of 10 years in a federal prison.

The possible penalties under Title 18, Section 1425(b) of the U. S. Code, written in full states that a conviction under this law if the offense was committed to facilitate an act of international terrorism, is that a defendant may be imprisoned for a period of not more than 25 years as defined in section 2331. If the offense was committed to aid, assist or complete a drug trafficking crime they may be incarcerated for a term of 20 years as stated in section 929 (a). 15 years may be imposed in the instance of any supplementary violation or both and 10 years will be levied in the case of the first or second such offense if the infraction was not committed to advance an action of a drug trafficking or a crime of international terrorism.

The case against Chi Da Liu is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert T. Watson for the government. The official US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida’s press release can be viewed by clicking here.

Michael B. Cohen, Esq., focuses his foremost energies on cases that are governed under federal law. As a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, in full or in part, Mr. Cohen has been a major protagonist in the defense of an extensive expanse of cases litigated in the federal court system. He has frequently handled immigration cases and investigations throughout his tenure as a federal prosecutor and defense attorney, which gives his clients a clear advantage when his services are retained.

With two easily accessible offices, each located in the heart of the Fort Lauderdale and the West Palm Beach Metropolitan areas, Mr. Cohen’s assistance is always in close proximity to a client base that resides in Dade and Broward Counties as well as the Palm Beaches.

Mr. Cohen is skilled in the defense of cases tried by the State of Florida as well as those presented by the federal government. He takes pride in delivering the best possible result for his client’s federal protection, as well as having wide-ranging knowledge of the statutory laws of the State of Florida.