Turkish Media Reports Arrest of U.S. Diplomat, @StateDept Refutes, Turkey Releases Passport

 

On December 22, Turkey’s Daily Sabah reports that an individual purported to be a U.S. diplomat was arrested in Istanbul:.

“In a written statement from the Istanbul Police Department, it was reported that on Nov. 11, 2021, at around 5 p.m., it was determined that Syrian national R.S., who wanted to go to Germany from Istanbul Airport with a fake passport, tried to go abroad with another person’s passport during the checks at the passport point.

Following an investigation, it was determined that the passport that R.S. used while trying to escape belonged to D.J.K., a diplomat at the U.S. Consulate in Beirut. During the examination of the camera footage, it was noted that the two suspects met in the airport and changed their clothes there and R.S. then received the passport from the American diplomat D.J.K.

In the statement, it was stated that both suspects were taken into custody, and the following information was shared: “During the body search, $10,000 and a diplomatic passport of his own name were found in the envelope from the American citizen D.J.K. Syrian national R.S., who was found trying to exit the country by using fake passports, was one of the persons referred to the judicial authorities. He was released on charges of ‘forgery of official documents.’ The person named D. J. K., an American citizen, was arrested and handed over to prison.”

We should note that there is no U.S. Consulate in Beirut. There is, however, a U.S. Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.
On December 23, Daily Sabah has a statement from the State Department refuting that the individual arrested is one of its diplomats:

“We are aware of the detention of a U.S. citizen in Turkey. The individual is not a U.S. diplomat. We are providing appropriate consular services,” a State Department official said but gave no further details.

Later on December 23, Hurriyet Daily News published an image of the U.S. passport of the individual arrested as released by Turkish authorities. The name was redacted but the biographic information and the annotation that “The bearer is a member of the family of …. ” are clearly visible:

Turkish authorities have disclosed the passport of a U.S. citizen who was detained and arrested on the charges of “forging official documents” while reportedly trying to help a Syrian national leave Turkey.

On the first page of the passport, it is seen that the U.S. citizen, identified only by initials D.J.K., was born in Syria in 1988 and received his travel document on May 18, 2021, which is valid until May 17, 2026.

Meanwhile, the U.S. officials denied the allegations that D.J.K. was a U.S. diplomat following reports in the Turkish media that he worked for the U.S. Consulate in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut.

If this is a genuine diplomatic passport, it means that the spouse of the individual arrested is accredited to Lebanon. Diplomatic family members do hold diplomatic passports (as well as regular passports) but their diplomatic status is dependent on the principal, that is the employee’s status and assignment. Diplomatic passports of family members normally carry an annotation such as the one indicated on the passport image released by Turkish authorities.
This passport appears to be a diplomatic passport issued on May 18, 2021. In addition to the annotation, this has a 5-year validity with expiration date of May 17, 2026. U.S. diplomatic passports are typically valid for 5 years; regular passports unless limited by the State Department are normally valid for 10 years. Regular passports also typically do not carry annotations like the one shown in this individual’s passport.
Since the principal in this case was not part of the Turkish charges, we will not publish the name here. We should note however, that the principal appears to be a new employee at State with consular appointment submitted for Senate confirmation just this past summer and confirmed recently via voice vote.
We will likely learn more about this case as it goes forward. Or maybe not. After all, this arrest occurred in Istanbul in November 11, and we’re just hearing of this now, five weeks later. So this was a hush-hush matter until it wasn’t. Makes you wonder what happened, yes?

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Senate Cuts Loose 44 @StateDept/USAID Hostages, Two FS Lists Before Running Out the Door

 

The Senate adjourned for the holiday break early morning Saturday at 4:04am ET. The Senate returns on Monday, January 3, 2022 for the beginning of the 2nd session of the 117th Congress.
Except for Rahm Emanuel (nominee for Japan) and Atul Atmaram Gawande (nominee for USAID), all nominations in this group were confirmed via voice vote. See, it wasn’t hard, was it?
Many more nominees are stuck in super glue in the Senate’s Executive Calendar. Over 50 more are pending in Committee. We don’t know how many will require renominations in January.
We expect that some senators will continue to play the game of hold next year because there are no consequences from voters for these actions. Politico’s Global Insider on December 17 notes that the confirmation mess will continue to grow. Apparently, some nominees were even told by the administration to “lobby for themselves.” What-the-what? Happy holidays and that’s not in$$$ane at all!

AMBASSADORSHIPS: CAREER FOREIGN SERVICE

2021-12-18 PN377 ALGERIA – Elizabeth Moore Aubin, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

2021-12-18 PN382 ANGOLA/SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE – Tulinabo S. Mushingi, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Angola, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.

2021-12-18 PN378 BAHRAIN – Steven C. Bondy, of New Jersey, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Bahrain.

2021-12-18 PN786 BANGLADESH – Peter D. Haas, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

2021-12-18 PN1009 BENIN – Brian Wesley Shukan, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Benin.

2021-12-18 PN911 BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA – Michael J. Murphy, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

2021-12-18 PN910 BRUNEI – Caryn R. McClelland, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Brunei Darussalam.

2021-12-18 PN732 THE GAMBIA – Sharon L. Cromer, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of The Gambia.

2021-12-18 PN381 CAMEROON – Christopher John Lamora, of Rhode Island, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Cameroon.

2021-12-18 PN937 CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – Patricia Mahoney, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Central African Republic.

2021-12-18 PN417 REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO – Eugene S. Young, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of the Congo.

2021-12-18 PN1033 EQUATORIAL GUINEA – David R. Gilmour, of the District of Columbia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.

2021-12-18 PN733 GUINEA – Troy Damian Fitrell, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Guinea.

2021-12-18 PN379 LESOTHO – Maria E. Brewer, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Lesotho.

2021-12-18 PN873 MOLDOVA – Kent Doyle Logsdon, of Pennsylvania, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Moldova.

2021-12-18 PN939 MOZAMBIQUE – Peter Hendrick Vrooman, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Mozambique.

2021-12-18 PN383 SENEGAL/GUINEA-BISSAU – Michael Raynor, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Senegal, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

2021-12-18 PN376 SOMALIA – Larry Edward Andre, Jr., of Texas, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Somalia.

2021-12-18 PN897 SRI LANKA – Julie Chung, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

2021-12-18 PN1005 TOGOLESE REPUBLIC – Elizabeth Anne Noseworthy Fitzsimmons, of Delaware, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Togolese Republic.

2021-12-18 PN380 VIETNAM – Marc Evans Knapper, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

AMBASSADORSHIP: CAREER EXECUTIVE SERVICE

2021-12-18 PN734 PARAGUAY – Marc Ostfield, of Pennsylvania, a Career Member of the Senior Executive Service, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Paraguay.

AMBASSADORSHIPS: NON-CAREER/POLITICAL APPOINTEES

2021-12-18 PN1029 ARGENTINA – Marc R. Stanley, of Texas, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Argentine Republic.

2021-12-18 PN1225 BELGIUM – Michael M. Adler, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Belgium.

2021-12-18 PN738 COSTA RICA – Cynthia Ann Telles, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Costa Rica.

2021-12-18 PN785 FRANCE/MONACO – Denise Campbell Bauer, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the French Republic, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Principality of Monaco.

2021-12-18 PN774 IRELAND – Claire D. Cronin, of Massachusetts, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Ireland.

2021-12-18 PN1004 POLAND – Mark Brzezinski, of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Poland.

2021-12-18 PN938 SPAIN/ANDORRA – Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, of New York, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Spain, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Principality of Andorra.

2021-12-18 PN958 SLOVENIA – Jamie L. Harpootlian, of South Carolina, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia.

2021-12-18 PN1226 SWEDEN – Erik D. Ramanathan, of Massachusetts, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Sweden.

2021-12-18 PN1030 SWITZERLAND/LIECHTENSTEIN – Scott Miller, of Colorado, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Swiss Confederation, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Principality of Liechtenstein.

2021-12-18 PN1058 JAPAN – Rahm Emanuel, of Illinois, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Japan.

STATE DEPARTMENT

2021-12-18 PN922 MANAGEMENT – John R. Bass, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be an Under Secretary of State (Management).

2021-12-18 PN384 STATE/IO – Michele Jeanne Sison, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Ambassador, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (International Organization Affairs).

2021-12-18 PN616 STATE/PROTOCOL – Rufus Gifford, of Massachusetts, to be Chief of Protocol, and to have the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service.

2021-12-18 PN547 Department of State – Adam Scheinman, of Virginia, to be Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, with the rank of Ambassador.

2021-12-18 PN776 Department of State – Bathsheba Nell Crocker, of the District of Columbia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador.

2021-12-18 PN781 Department of State – Jack A. Markell, of Delaware, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, with the rank of Ambassador.

2021-12-18 PN552 Department of State – Christopher P. Lu, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform, with the rank of Ambassador.

2021-12-18 PN553 Department of State – Christopher P. Lu, of Virginia, to be an Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during his tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform.

2021-12-18 PN934 Department of State – Mark Gitenstein, of Washington, to be Representative of the United States of America to the European Union, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

2021-12-18 PN935 Department of State – Laura S. H. Holgate, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

 

USAID

2021-12-18 PN415 Marcela Escobari, of Massachusetts, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

2021-12-17 PN874 Atul Atmaram Gawande, of Massachusetts, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

FOREIGN SERVICE LISTS

2021-12-16 PN726 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Arthur W. Brown, and ending Peter C. Trenchard, which 35 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 22, 2021.

2021-12-16 PN728-1 Foreign Service | Nominations beginning Rahel Aboye, and ending Kyra Turner Zogbekor, which 153 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on June 22, 2021.

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Related post:

 

Senate Releases Burns (China), Toloui (EB), Hussain (IRF), Barrett (Luxembourg) From Confirmation Super Glue

 

On December 16, the U.S. Senate was able to released four State Department nominees from the body’s confirmation tacky super glue. There were logged senate votes for the first three nominees (China, EB, IRF), and for the confirmation of the Ambassador to Luxembourg, a simple voice vote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also tweeted “I have filed cloture to start the process on more than 20 of President Biden’s nominees. These nominees are vital to addressing the national security and economic challenges of our nation. We will work until they are all confirmed by this chamber.”
It was for 22 nominations to be exact. 12 out of 22 are @StateDept nominations. 1 of 12 is a career diplomat (going to Vietnam). In the Senate priorities on which nominations should be confirmed first, former senators and widows of senators are obviously on top of the list, followed by the donor class and the friends with connections class, and then if there is still time, they may also confirm the career folks before they end their session for the holidays. Otherwise, it may not look  good; although that does not seem to matter anymore these days.  Phuey! I supposed we can stick with the hamsters’ motto of the more things change, the more things stay the same. Amen.
Related post:

Snapshot: Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Ineligibilities FY2020*

 

Via state.gov, partial stats on IV and NIV ineligibilities by Grounds for Refusal Under the Immigration and Nationality Act) Fiscal Year 2020*
The full document is available here (PDF).

3 Listed total ineligibility findings pursuant to the 2017 E.O. on Immigration are not directly comparable to refusal counts provided in the Department of State’s Quarterly/Monthly Report of Implementation of Presidential Proclamation (P. P.) 9645. Refusal statistics in the Quarterly/Monthly Reports do not include applications subsequently issued, and are reported cumulatively from December 8, 2017, the date of full P. P. 9645 implementation, through the end of the stated reporting period, rather than by fiscal year as in the table above. Counts of monthly new subject applications provided in the Quarterly/Monthly Reports include not only applications found ineligible on P. P. 9645-grounds, as above, but also those issued pursuant to an exception or waiver or refused on non-P. P. 9645 grounds. President Biden signed PP 10141 on January 20, 2021, ending the travel restrictions under P. P. 9645.

 

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How to Fix Cancún Cruz’s Blockade? Send All Pending Nominees Out as Special Presidential Envoys

 

That’s right.
Skip the  boring U.S. Senate votes.
President Biden ought to just send out all the pending nominees for ambassadors as Special Presidential Envoys to countries around the globe. If the nominees have cleared the SFRC but have been subjected to the blanket hold by senators chasing their presidential ambitions in laughable displays, President Biden should just save these senators from their jobs, and appoint his nominees as Special Presidential Envoys. He should then swear-in all the SPEs at the White House and send them off packing to get to their new posts ASAP. The Special Presidential Envoys would still need to report to the geographic assistant secretaries in Foggy Bottom, but they will be at our missions overseas instead of being held hostages in Washington D.C.
Back in 2014, the GOP Senate did the same thing with President Obama’s nominees. At that time we wrote:

Certainly, a mass appointment of Special Presidential Envoys would be a bad precedent.  We are also pretty sure our U.S. Senate would be terribly unhappy and offended if President Obama simply announce the appointments of five dozen Special Presidential Envoys in place of his ambassadors. And without the advice and consent of the Senate. Of course, they would!

(Gosh! If this happens,we would missed a whole lot of informative and entertaining performances on C-Span).

That said, if our senators cannot do kumbaya work for the sake of the United States, if they continue trading blame on why the nominees are stuck in the Senate, and if they kept on putting party before country, why then should we mind if they are offended and get ulcers?

Right now, the two parties are not trading blame.
It’s just one party that has long lost control of its screaming children (oh let’s not even start about the best quality people they have in the House). It is bonkers that one or two senators could place a blanket hold on nominees with no relation to their pet issues or even without any pet issue. One senator placed a hold on nominations unless two cabinet secretaries resign. One senator wanted diplomats to”not get invited to parties” in China. This senator must think diplomats go to diplomatic receptions and parties for fun; just how deep is this willful ignorance?
These senators went to the best schools, and have been in office for a while; they must realized the consequences their actions have on our overseas missions. So, no, it’s not that they don’t know that their actions have consequences. It’s simply that they don’t care. Whatever consequences may befall our overseas missions due to their actions; they don’t care. There’s no way around that reality.
But surely, these senators’ pet issues are the most important issues in all the world, right? More important than our country’s standing in the world. More important than the perceptions among foreign audience that the United States is screwy these days. Also more important than finding out who’s to blame for the January 6 insurrection. Servants of the people serving their own selves and ambitions. Oh, yes, aren’t we lucky to be served by these servants who loved our country more than they love their own pretty selves? Give them an applause, please.
But go ahead, Joe … make our day and give these senators some goddamn ulcers!
Release all the Special Presidential Envoys into the wild (and not so wild places)!
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Related post:

Dear Senators, Do You Really Want President Obama to Appoint 65 Special Presidential Envoys?

 

First Extradition From Cameroon to US: Fugitive to Serve an 80-Year Prison Sentence

 

Via USDOJ:

In the first extradition from the Republic of Cameroon to the United States, a Texas man was extradited to Houston on Friday to serve an 80-year prison sentence he received in absentia four years ago after he pleaded guilty in two separate cases to conspiracy, health care fraud, money laundering, and tax offenses.

According to court documents, in November 2016, Ebong Aloysius Tilong, 57, of Sugar Land, Texas, and his wife, Marie Neba, went to trial on the conspiracy, health care fraud, and money laundering charges. The trial evidence and court documents showed that between 2006 and 2015, Tilong, Neba, and their co-conspirators used Tilong and Neba’s company, Fiango Home Healthcare Inc. (Fiango), to corruptly obtain more than $13 million by submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for home health care services that Fiango’s patients did not need or receive. The trial evidence and court documents also showed that Tilong and Neba paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters to refer patients to Fiango, and that Tilong falsified and directed others to falsify medical records to make it appear as though Fiango’s patients met the Medicare qualifications for home health care. Additional evidence demonstrated that Tilong attempted to destroy evidence and blackmail and suborn perjury from witnesses. After the first week of trial, Tilong pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, three counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, three counts of payment and receipt of health care kickbacks, and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

In June 2017, Tilong pleaded guilty in a separate case to two counts of filing fraudulent tax returns. In connection with this guilty plea, Tilong admitted that he created a shell company called Quality Therapy Services (QTS) to limit the amount of tax that he paid to the IRS on the proceeds that he and his co-conspirators stole from Medicare. According to Tilong’s plea agreement, in 2013 and 2014, Tilong wrote almost $1 million in checks from Fiango to QTS for physical-therapy services that QTS never provided to Fiango’s patients and deducted as business expenses. Tilong admitted that his tax fraud scheme caused the IRS a tax loss of approximately $344,452.

In August 2017, Neba was sentenced to 75 years in prison the Medicare fraud scheme at Fiango. The U.S. District Court scheduled Tilong’s sentencing for Oct. 13, 2017, but court records show that on the morning of his sentencing hearing, Tilong removed an ankle bracelet monitoring his location and failed to respond to phone calls from, or appear in, the U.S. District Court for his sentencing. On Dec. 8, 2017, the U.S. District Court sentenced Tilong in absentia to 80 years in prison for his role in the Medicare and tax fraud schemes.
[…]

In September 2021, the Republic of Cameroon President Paul Biya signed a decree ordering Tilong’s removal to the United States.

On Dec. 10, 2021, U.S. Marshals escorted Tilong from Cameroon to the United States.

The United States is grateful to the Government of Cameroon for its cooperation and support of this extradition request.

Read more:

State/OBO Topping Out 2021: Windhoek, Beirut, Nogales, Nassau, Mexico City, Hermosillo

 

 

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VPOTUS Swears-In Jeff Flake as New US Ambassador to Turkey

 

 

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Ex-@StateDept Employee Gets 12 Months, 1 Day in Prison For $156,950 Wire Fraud in Haiti

 

Via USDOJ:
Former State Department Employee Sentenced to Federal Prison for Embezzling more than $150,000 from Department of Defense

Charleston, South Carolina — Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that Roudy Pierre-Louis, 49, a citizen of Haiti and former State Department employee, was sentenced to more than a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to committing Wire Fraud.

Evidence presented to the court showed that from 2015 through August 2018, Pierre-Louis was an employee of the State Department who worked at the Embassy of Haiti as the sole budget analyst for the Security Coordination Office (SCO). In this role, Pierre-Louis was responsible for managing all lines of accounting for the State Department and Department of Defense (DoD) associated with the SCO, which included per diem cash advances for individuals travelling to United States Southern Command events. Pierre-Louis also was designated as the SCO’s Occasional Money Holder, allowing him to receive cash on behalf of other individuals who did not have full access to the Embassy in order to obtain cash advances for travel expenses, including, but not limited to, per diem, lodging, and air fare.

The Embassy maintained a vault, or “cash cage,” from which cash advances could be disbursed to employees providing documentation of supervisory approval. This cash cage was reconciled on a daily basis, as cash on hand along with approved disbursements were required to be reconciled and approved by a financial officer with the State Department in order to balance and replenish the cash supply.

Beginning in 2015 and continuing through at least August 2018, Pierre-Louis submitted fraudulent vouchers and supporting documents for cash advances in the names of Haitian Nationals that contained forged signatures of requesting and approving DoD supervisors.

Unaware of this fraud, the Department of State released these cash funds to Pierre-Louis, which were subsequently reimbursed by the Department of Defense. During the relevant time period, from 2015 to August 2018, Pierre-Louis embezzled at least $156,950 from his wire fraud scheme.

United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel sentenced Pierre-Louis to 12 months and one day in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision, and ordered that Pierre-Louis pay full restitution in this case. There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was investigated by the State Department Office of Inspector General’s Charleston, South Carolina Field Office, and the Major Procurement Fraud Unit of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

Assistant United States Attorney Allessandra Stewart prosecuted the case.

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State/OIG Announces Review of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program

On December 7, 2021, an un-dated announcement tweeted by @StateOIG indicates that the Office of the Inspector General for the State Department is initiating a review of the Afghan SIV Program:
The Office of Inspector General (OIG), Office of Audits, is initiating a review of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program. The primary objectives of the review are to assess and describe (1) the number of SIV applications received and processed and their processing times; (2) the adjustments made to processing SIV applications between 2018 and 2021; (3) the status and resolution of recommendations made by the Department of State Office of Inspector General in its reports Quarterly Reporting on Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program Needs Improvement (AUD-MERO-20-34, June 2020) and Review of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program (AUD-MERO-20-35, June 2020); (4) the status of SIV recipients; and (5) the totality of OIG reporting on the SIV Program in a capping report.
The review will be conducted at the Bureaus of Consular Affairs; Near Eastern Affairs; Population, Refugees, and Migration; and South and Central Asian Affairs and at selected domestic facilities and overseas posts including the Afghanistan Affairs Unit in Doha, Qatar. The review will include interviews of appropriate officials, an assessment of pertinent documents, and analyses of data.
The announcement also notes that State/OIG “will be coordinating and deconflicting with other members of the inspector general community to ensure efficiency and to leverage interagency resources in performing this important oversight work.”

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