07/12/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/12/2018 13:37
LOS ANGELES - An Ethiopian diplomat was arrested today by federal agents for visa fraud violations arising out of the use of non-immigrant diplomatic visas for family members who did not qualify under federal regulations.
Desta Woldeyohannes Delkasso, 54, an Ethiopian national assigned to the Ethiopian government's Consulate General as the Deputy Consul General in Los Angeles, was charged in a three-count indictment unsealed this morning. She is charged with 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.'
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.'
Based on this information, her family members were then issued A-1 diplomatic visas to enter the United States.
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.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentences of 30 years in prison.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Criminal Investigations Division with assistance from the DSS Los Angeles Field Office.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lana Morton-Owens of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.