Md. Attorney and Assistant Charged in Asylum Fraud Case
Posted Mar 5, 2008 3:55 PM CST
By Martha Neil
A Maryland attorney and his legal assistant are facing criminal charges for allegedly submitting falsified paperwork to federal agencies on behalf of asylum clients and coaching them to falsify their testimony.
Indicted last week in federal court were Patrick G. Tzeuton, 41, of Silver Spring and Henri Marcel Nzone (or Nzone Nguessa), 43, of Spencerville. They are facing charges of conspiracy to prepare false asylum applications, immigration fraud and obstruction of official immigrant proceedings, according to the Gazette, a community newspaper, and a U.S. Department of Justice press release.
"The indictment alleges that Tzeuton and Nzone submitted multiple asylum applications to immigration officials containing similar and, in some instances, nearly identical false and fraudulent affidavits," the press release states.
The two could not be reached by the newspaper for comment, and a lawyer for one declined to comment, saying that he had just gotten involved in the case.
If convicted, they face maximum sentences of five years for conspiracy, 10 years for immigration fraud; and 20 years for obstruction. However, two other Washington, D.C.-area immigration lawyers convicted in similar cases were sentenced to between 18 and 78 months, according to the Gazette.