ATLANTA –Olu Kanni Sanyaolu, a/k/a Kunle Sanya Olukanni, has been convicted by a jury for naturalization fraud. The jury found that Sanyaolu, a naturalized citizen, fraudulently concealed when he applied for U.S. citizenship that an immigration judge had previously ordered him deported from the United States, which is a fact that made him ineligible to apply for citizenship. Because of this conviction, Sanyaolu will automatically lose his citizenship status.
“When someone engages in fraud and presents false information to become a naturalized citizen, it compromises the integrity and security of the naturalization process,” said U.S. Attorney John A. Horn. “The jury found the defendant completely subverted the process that allows immigrants to become citizens.”
“Identity fraud by those seeking to enter the United States poses a serious potential threat to national security and is one of the most important investigative focuses of Homeland Security Investigations,” said Nick S. Annan, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta. “HSI is firmly committed to stopping criminals who seek to exploit our nation’s welcoming policy toward legal immigrants by engaging in fraud or deceit, and this case highlights the serious consequences awaiting anyone considering an attempt to cheat the system.”
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: In April 2009, Olu Kanni Sanyaolu filed an application for naturalization with U.S. immigration officials. To finalize the application, an immigration officer interviewed Sanyaolu on July 20, 2009. In the interview, Sanyaolu stated under oath that he had never used another identity, and that he had never previously been ordered deported.
Several years later, immigration officials discovered through a fingerprint match that Sanyaolu was actually Kunle Sanya Olukanni. The evidence presented at trial revealed that before the defendant applied to become a naturalized citizen, he had unsuccessfully applied for asylum and permanent resident status using the name Kunle Olukanni, and had been ordered deported from the U.S. in 1998.
The defendant then fraudulently assumed a new identity, using the name Olu Kanni Sanyaolu, and successfully applied for political asylum, claiming to be a member of the Nigerian Air Force who was persecuted and tortured after a coup. Four years later, in 2009, the defendant applied to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. He then fraudulently concealed he had previously used a different name and had been ordered deported, a fact that made him ineligible to apply for citizenship.
Olu Kanni Sanyaolu, a/k/a Kunle Sanya Olukanni, 54, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, was convicted on Thursday July 20, 2017. Sentencing is scheduled for October 5, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr.This case is being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.