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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

STATELESS NATIONAL OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY CHARGED WITH VISA FRAUD

STATELESS NATIONAL OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
CHARGED WITH VISA FRAUD
Defendant lied about involvement with violence along Gaza-Israel border

BOSTON – A stateless national was charged today in federal court in Boston with fraudulent procurement of a U.S. visa and making false statements regarding acts of violence he committed against the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) along the Gaza-Israel border. 

Waad Alzerei, 19, a stateless national of the Palestinian Authority, was charged with visa fraud and making materially false statements.  He is currently in ICE custody and will appear U.S. District Court in Boston this afternoon.

According to the charging documents, on Feb. 27, 2019, Alzerei arrived at Boston’s Logan International Airport on flight from Paris, France, which originated in Cairo, Egypt. Shortly thereafter, two Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers interviewed Alzerei to determine whether he met the admissibility requirements to enter the United States.  Alzerei identified himself as a Palestinian citizen and presented a tourist visa. 

He claimed that he was coming to the United States in order to receive medical treatment, but was unable to produce any medical documentation to verify the claim and, instead, presented medical paperwork from 2018.  The CBP officers determined that Alzerei had traveled to the United States in 2017 for a six-month stay.  Alzerei, who had his leg amputated above the knee, was fitted for and provided with a prosthetic leg at the time.   

During a subsequent interview, Alzerei allegedly told CBP officers that he lost his leg on Oct. 23, 2015, when he was shot by a stray bullet from the IDF while picking olives in a field near the Gaza-Israel border. Alzerei stated that, at the time he was shot, there were no protests going on and he was not involved in any type of riot, rally, or demonstration. The CBP officers asked Alzerei if he had ever been “involved in any border riots, rallies, or demonstrations” in his life, and Alzerei responded, “No.” 

The CBP officers then conducted a search of Alzerei’s cell phone and found numerous images and videos demonstrating that Alzerei had a possible affiliation with members of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas, both of which have been designated by the U.S. Government as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) since 1997. CBP officers allegedly found photographs that were taken of Alzerei hurling large rocks at the IDF on Oct. 23, 2015, the day he was shot in the leg near the Gaza-Israel border.