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For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON – An Iraqi national, Aws Muwafaq Abduljabbar, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States related to his role in a scheme to defraud
U.S. refugee programs.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Dr. Joseph V. Cuffari, and U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Deputy Assistant Secretary and Assistant Director for Domestic Operations Mark A. Sullo.
Abduljabbar, 43, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras of the District of Columbia. He remains held without bond pending sentencing on June 24, 2022.
Abduljabbar is one of three defendants charged in an indictment that was unsealed on January 22, 2021. The indictment charges Abduljabbar and two other foreign nationals, Haitham Isa Saado Sad, 43, and Olesya Leonidovna Krasilova, 44, in connection with a scheme to defraud the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and, in particular, the Iraq P-2 program, which allows certain Iraqis to apply directly for refugee resettlement in the United States. Sad previously pleaded guilty and remains held pending sentencing. Krasilova remains at large.
According to the indictment and statement of facts agreed to by Abduljabbar as part of his guilty plea, from approximately February 2016 until at least April 2019, the three defendants, led by Abduljabbar, conspired to steal U.S. government records related to hundreds of USRAP applications. Sad was employed in Amman, Jordan from 2007 to 2016 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Krasilova held a similar position at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia. As part of their duties, both defendants had access to the State Department’s Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (WRAPS), a database containing sensitive, non-public information about refugee applicants and their family members, as well as the results of security checks and internal assessments by U.S. officials regarding applications.
Abduljabbar organized and led the conspiracy, and he relied on and paid Sad and Krasilova to steal WRAPS records and information so that Abduljabbar could assist applicants in gaining admission to the United States through fraudulent means. As outlined in the indictment and statement of facts, the theft of USRAP records creates a number of risks to public safety and national security while imposing significant costs on the U.S. government, its taxpayers, and otherwise legitimate refugee applicants negatively impacted by the scheme.
The charges in an indictment are merely allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to defraud the United States is five years. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, a defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case is being investigated jointly by the DHS Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Luke M. Jones and Erik M. Kenerson of the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs assisted.