Miami Passport Fraud Attorneys
over 47 years of White-Collar Crime Defense Experience
Passports are travel documents issued by a competent authority. They serve as legal proof of a person’s origin, identity, and nationality, and are valid for the entry of that person into a foreign country. U.S. passports are stolen or fraudulently manufactured at an alarming rate, despite efforts by the federal government. Unfortunately, many innocent people are arrested on suspicion of passport fraud every year because of prosecutorial zeal.
Having the advice of a skilled attorney is crucial in these situations. If you were arrested for passport fraud, you should consider speaking immediately with an experienced attorney who can help you formulate a defense. At Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., we can help you during your passport fraud investigation and represent you in your federal criminal case. We are the lawyers you need on your side.
What Is Passport Fraud?
Some of the ways this offense can be committed include:
- Applying for a passport using the identity of a deceased person;
- Using fraudulent support documents when applying for a passport;
- Using a stolen or altered passport; and
- Circumventing the two-parent signature rule for children to obtain a passport.
While most people are aware that these activities qualify as passport fraud, few know that any false statements made on an application to obtain a passport and use of any passport so obtained is also unlawful.
False Statements Made to Obtain a Passport
Before a person can be convicted under federal law, prosecutors must demonstrate that the defendant:
- Willfully and knowingly made any false statement in an application for passport,
- With the intent to induce or secure the issuance of a passport for his or her own use or the use of another.
Even attempting to use a passport that was fraudulently obtained is punishable under federal law. Though this is true, prosecutors are required to prove that the user knew that the passport was secured because someone gave a false statement. Those who are convicted of this offense face up to 10 years in prison. However, if the prosecutors allege that the passport was used to facilitate a drug trafficking crime, the maximum sentence that could be imposed is up to 20 years in prison. If the offense was committed to facilitate an act of international terrorism, the potential sentence is up to 25 years in prison.
Forgery & Alteration
Federal law prohibits making, forging, counterfeiting, mutilating, or altering any passport or instrument purporting to be a passport, with the intent to use it. It is also unlawful to willfully and knowingly use, attempt to use, or furnish to another for use any false, forged, counterfeited, mutilated, or altered passport or instrument purporting to be a passport. Penalties include hefty fines and prison sentences of up to 25 years if the offense was committed to facilitate an act of international terrorism.
Using a Forged Passport
Even those who were not involved in a passport’s forgery or alteration can be charged under federal law if they:
- Used or tried to use a passport that was issued to someone else;
- Used or attempted to use a passport in violation of federal restrictions or conditions; or
- Furnished or delivered a passport to any person for use by someone other than the person to whom it was issued.
Proving a defendant’s knowledge of the true nature of a forged or altered passport is critical to obtain a conviction. It is especially important that you speak with our experienced lawyers if you have been charged with passport fraud. We can help protect your interests.
Please call (305) 985-6640 to speak with the attorneys at Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. if you are facing a passport fraud investigation or if you were arrested for offenses related to passports, visas, and related documents. Our legal team is prepared to assist you immediately.
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