California

Foreign Service Officer and Former Spouse Sentenced for Obtaining U.S. Citizenship by Fraud

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The FINANCIAL — A California woman and Russian-born man were sentenced last week to a term of prison of 15 and 6 months, respectively, for their involvement in a conspiracy and obtaining citizenship by fraud.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Laura Gallagher, 32, a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, and Andrey Kalugin, 36, originally of Russia, conspired to fraudulently obtain lawful permanent resident status and citizenship for Kalugin through his marriage to Gallagher.

Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the defendants met in law school in 2013. Kalugin was in the U.S. on a student visa that was due to expire in July 2015. The defendants married in June 2015 and submitted applications for Kalugin to obtain his “green card.” The defendants moved from California to Virginia in March 2016 but split up soon thereafter and lived separately from each other. However, they continued with the immigration process.

Gallagher, who was also a California-licensed attorney at the time of the conduct, then prepared for Kalugin an application for 319(b) expeditious naturalization, which is a benefit available to spouses of citizens who are regularly stationed abroad for their employment. The defendants provided materially false responses in the application. Kalugin appeared for an interview on Feb. 5, 2018, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Fairfax, where he repeated the false statements to the adjudicating officer. After USCIS approved the application and he received his citizenship, Kalugin fraudulently obtained U.S. Diplomatic and tourist passports. Shortly thereafter, Gallagher filed for divorce. The defendants were convicted at trial on September 10, 2021.

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Additionally, the district court judge entered an order revoking Kalugin’s naturalization.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Jessica Moore, Chief of the Criminal Investigations Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Raizza K. Ty and Morris R. Parker, Jr. prosecuted the case.

 

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