Friday, May 10, 2019
Physician Facing Federal Indictment for Passport Fraud, Falsely Claiming U.S. Citizenship, and Illegal Voting by an Alien
Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has indicted Michael Nana Baako, age 50, a native of Ghana residing in Fulton, Maryland, on the federal charges of passport fraud, falsely claiming U.S. citizenship, and illegal voting by an alien. Baako was a physician who practiced in hospitals in Maryland and maintained his own clinic, Biazo Healthcare. The indictment was returned on May 1, 2019, and was unsealed at his initial appearance today.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Edwin Guard of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Washington Field Office.
According to the indictment, since at least 2001, Baako and R.A.A., also born in Ghana, have lived together in Howard County, Maryland and are the parents of two minor children. Baako and R.A.A. entered the United States legally after obtaining a visa in 1995. In 1996, Baako applied for certification of his Ghanian medical education in the United States through the Educational Commission for Foreign Graduates. In 1998, Baako married a U.S. citizen in Virginia, who filed a petition for Baako to become a naturalized United States citizen. On June 20, 2000, the petition was denied after immigration officials concluded that Baako’s marriage was a “sham” marriage entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. In 2001, Baako was licensed to practice in Maryland as a physician.
The indictment alleges that on November 29, 2005, Baako registered to vote in Maryland, swearing that he was a United States citizen, and subsequently voted in 10 elections between November 7, 2006 and November 6, 2018.
Further, the indictment alleges that on April 17, 2007, and September 16, 2009, respectively, Baako and R.A.A. submitted passport applications on behalf of their minor children, in which Baako falsely claimed that he was a citizen of the United States, born in Hillsborough, North Carolina. On April 22, 2008, Baako allegedly submitted an application for a United States passport for himself in which he falsely claimed that he was born in North Carolina, as were both of his parents. As part of his passport application, Baako allegedly provided an affidavit purporting to be from a family friend, falsely stating that this person was one of the first people to see Baako after his birth and was present at a subsequent naming and baptism ceremony for Baako at a Hillsborough, North Carolina church. Baako was issued a U.S. passport on April 29, 2008, which he allegedly used for international travel on several occasions. That passport included the false information that Baako was a citizen of the United States born in North Carolina. According to the indictment, on July 31, 2012, Baako and R.A.A. submitted a passport renewal application on behalf of their first child, in which Baako falsely stated that he was a citizen of the United States. On February 20, 2018, Baako allegedly filed a passport renewal application for his own passport, again falsely stating that he was a U.S. citizen born in North Carolina. Baako was interviewed by Department of State officials on April 22, 2010, and on June 12, 2018. The indictment alleges that in both interviews Baako falsely stated that he was born in Hillsborough, North Carolina. The indictment alleges that in the 2018 interview Baako also falsely stated that he never applied for any immigration benefit with U.S. immigration authorities, nor submitted documents in an attempt to become a naturalized United States citizen.
If convicted, Baako faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each of four counts of passport fraud; a maximum of three years in prison for false claim to U.S. citizenship; and a maximum of one year in prison for each of three counts of illegal voting by an alien. At today’s initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore/ Greenbelt, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Gallagher ordered that Baako be detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for May 10, 2019, at 11:45 a.m.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the State Department’s DSS for its work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary A. Myers and Daniel A. Loveland, who are prosecuting the case.
at 5/10/2019 03:00:00 PM