The United States authorities have charged 48-year old Modestus Nwagubwu Ifemembi to court over fraudulent claims he provided to obtain the US citizenship 10 years back.
Ifemembi, who secured his US citizenship in 2001, has worked as a Federal providers’ officer with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for seven years.
According to a report by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Ifemembi, originally of Nigeria, was arrested in Maryland on Wednesday, April 7, 2020, on a federal charge that he obtained U.S. citizenship under a false name. It added that he made false statements to acquire U.S. citizenship, in addition to employment with USCIS.
The report disclosed that Ifemembi was charged under the false name of Karl Nwabugwu Odike Ifemembi.
His arrest followed investigation by federal agents. In the course of investigation, the release stated that US federal investigators visited Nigeria. They also searched his Orange County residence in 2019, obtaining evidence about his true identity; including baptism, school and financial records
Newsmen learnt from the statement of complaints against Ifemembi, that he was alleged to have first entered the United States in 2000 on a flight from France to Chicago using a stolen British passport that he had altered with his own photo.
While Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials detected the fraud, which Ifemembi admitted when confronted, he was however granted asylum after he falsely claimed that his real name was “Karlos Mourfy” of Sierra Leone.
After being granted asylum, Ifemembi secured admission into the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a bachelor’s diploma in 2004 and subsequently “obtained J.D. from the College of Oregon, College of Legislation”.
The charges further stated that Ifemembi, still posing as “Karlos Mourfy”, after obtaining asylum was able to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (green card) and applied for U.S. citizenship in 2010.
At the time of applying to naturalize, he requested to have his name changed to “Karlos Ifemembi”. His U.S. citizenship and name change were approved in May 2011.
The story got worse for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency responsible for administering the United States lawful immigration system. Not only was Ifemembi able to dupe adjudicators to obtain multiple immigration benefits, the agency subsequently hired him in 2013 as an immigration services officer.
The 48-year-old Nigerian, who relocated to Rockville, Maryland in 2020, faces a one-count charge of unlawfully procuring U.S. citizenship.
He faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison, and upon conviction; his US citizenship will be automatically revoked.