Iraqi National Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison for Conspiracy to Defraud U.S. Refugee Program

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

            WASHINGTON – An Iraqi national, Aws Muwafaq Abduljabbar, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison on a charge 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, 44, pleaded guilty in January 2022, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  He was sentenced by the Honorable Judge Rudolph Contreras. 

            Abduljabbar is one of three defendants who were charged in an indictment that was unsealed on January 22, 2021.  The indictment charged Abduljabbar and two other foreign nationals, Haitham Isa Saado Sad, 44, 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 was sentenced.  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.

            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.

            This case was investigated jointly by the DHS Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.  It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik M. Kenerson and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke M. Jones 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.