Defendant in passport-application-fraud case told to surrender handgun

THE U.S. Attorney’s Office has asked a defendant in a U.S. passport application fraud case to surrender his handgun to the U.S. Marshals Service or a third-party as requirement for his conditional release.

Liang Li was indicted on the charge of making a false statement on a passport application and submitting a false document, but the case was initially sealed at the request of the U.S. government.

On Thursday, the case was unsealed after the defendant appeared before District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather Kennedy.

According to the indictment, on or about Jan. 10, 2018, Li willfully and knowingly made a false statement in an application for a passport with the intent to secure it for the use of another person.

Li, the indictment added, knowingly and willfully submitted a false written document, knowing it to contain a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement to the US government by certifying that he personally witnessed a person signing a DS-3053 Statement of Consent and backdating it to Jan. 8, 2018 which document was submitted to the U.S. Passport Office in Saipan knowing that the person had departed the United Sates in the early morning hours of Jan. 10, 2018.

At the hearing, Li was represented by attorney Rene Holmes while Assistant U.S. Attorney James Benedetto appeared for the federal government.

Li, though his defense counsel, waived the formal advisement of his constitutional rights and the reading of the charges against him and pled not guilty to the charges.

Benedetto told in court that the U.S. government would not seek the detention of Li pending trial because they believe he would not flee nor was he a danger.The prosecutor, however, asked the defendant to surrender his handgun to the U.S. Marshals Service or a third party.

The defense counsel did not object and told the court that the weapon would be surrendered that afternoon.

The court then granted Li’s conditional release.

Magistrate Judge Kennedy, in a separate order, set the jury trial for April 10, 2018 at 10 a.m.

Yanan Li was listed as co-defendant in the indictment but no additional information was provided by the court. The second defendant was also charged with making a false statement on a passport application.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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