Crime of Forging a U.S. Passport
There are numerous ways to forge a passport to gain entry into the United States. A forger may steal a passport, then erase and reprint information. A passport forger may obtain one of the thousands of passports gone missing from US embassies with a pre-printed number but no biographical information, i.e., purchase from a corrupt government official.
A passport forger may obtain a valid US passport by using a fraudulent name and other information. Conversely, she may obtain a fraudulent visa for a valid foreign passport. A person may try to enter the US on a foreign passport from a country, such as Japan, for which a tourist visa is granted at the port of entry. A passport can be purchased from a US citizen willing to sell it and then list it as “stolen” a few weeks later after it has been used.
Forgery of a stolen passport falls under the federal Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998, which metes out penalties of up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. In addition, there are 45 other forgery statutes that create felony crimes. Passport crimes include: Issuance by a Consular Officer without Authority, False Use of Passport, Misuse of Passport, Safe Conduct Violation, and Fraudulent Obtaining of Visas and other Entry Documents.
Since August 2007, the U.S. has been issuing only e-passports, which have a computer chip embedded in the back cover containing a digital photograph and other biometric information. Although some technology experts say this information is easy to copy, this technology should reduce future forgery.
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Last Modified: 05-10-2012 02:37 PM PDT
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