Crime - Sacto 911

Former Social Security Administration employee convicted in immigration fraud scheme

A former employee of the Social Security Administration in Sacramento has been convicted of conspiring to commit immigration fraud and falsifying government records.

Following a four-day jury trial, Nelli Kesoyan, 45, of Rancho Cordova was found guilty Wednesday of one count of conspiring to make false statements in a matter related to naturalization and citizenship and to obstruct, impede or influence a pending agency proceeding, and one count of falsifying government records, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release. U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. presided over the trial.

In January 2014, Kesoyan, a Social Security Administration claims representative, conspired with her husband, Grigor Kesoyan, and Vanik Movsesyan to make false statements in Movsesyan’s application for naturalization submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the news release said. Grigor Kesoyan and Movsesyan have pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy.

The three agreed to make false statements under oath to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regarding Movsesyan’s residence. Nelli Kesoyan used her position to repeatedly access Movsesyan’s Social Security Administration file and create fraudulent letters in support of his naturalization application, the news release said.

When a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer continued to question whether Movsesyan lived in Sacramento – he lived in Burbank – Kesoyan and her co-conspirators created and submitted additional false documents to support their lies.

Nelli Kesoyan also had another individual, who could not read or write in English, notarize an affidavit written in English that claimed Movsesyan lived at his house in Sacramento, and the affidavit was submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to the news release.

When Citizenship and Immigration Services and National Security officers conducted a site visit at Movsesyan’s purported Sacramento residence in November 2014, Kesoyan phoned the actual resident and directed him to lie to the officers. She also sent her husband and another individual to the residence to make statements to the officers, the news release said.

Nelli Kesoyan was taken into custody following Wednesday’s verdict. She and Movsesyan are to be sentenced April 28 by Judge Burrell.

Grigor Kesoyan was sentenced in March 2017 to two years of probation.

The case resulted from an investigation by the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy