An Ethiopian diplomat was arrested Thursday by federal agents for alleged visa fraud violations arising out of the use of non-immigrant diplomatic visas for family members who did not qualify under federal regulations, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Desta Woldeyohannes Delkasso, 54, an Ethiopian national assigned to the Ethiopian government’s consulate as the Deputy Consul General in Los Angeles, is charged in a three-count indictment alleging three counts of visa fraud, including falsely stating that her brother and his wife were “single” and “fully supported by her” and that their minor child was her son, federal prosecutors said.
According to the allegations in the indictment, Delkasso caused the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send letters required for the visas to the Embassy of the United States in July and August 2016, stating that Delkasso would be accompanied by family members who would stay in Los Angeles until the end of the diplomatic term.
The letters stated that her nephew was her son and that her brother and sister-in-law were “dependents” and fully supported by her, federal prosecutors allege.
Based on that information, her family members were then issued A-1 diplomatic visas to enter the United States, according to the indictment.
Delkasso’s brother and his son have lived in Washington, D.C., since their arrival in the United States, and as alleged in the indictment, never resided in Los Angeles, prosecutors said.
If convicted, the defendant faces up to 30 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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