US Convict Captured Nigerian Fugitive Of ID Theft, Marriage Scam, Purgery, Evading Arrest. Pawtucket (Providence, Rhode Island) man from Nigeria, Rasheed Abiodun Akanni, 42, was found guilty of fraudulent marriage to avoid deportation, lying to a federal officer and failing to appear for trial, the U.S. Attorney’s office reported Friday. He was convicted by a federal judge after a three-day trial. His sentencing is set for July 17.
Akanni arrived from Nigeria on a six-month visitor-for-pleasure visa on June 3, 2003. He stayed after failing to achieve legal status. In 2007, he applied for resident status as the spouse of an American, but the woman withdrew her support for his application. In 2010, he applied for asylum and removal proceedings were stayed.
He married another woman in a civil ceremony on Feb. 14, 2013. They lived separately until June of 2013, when they rented an apartment, although she told investigators he stayed there only half the time. Two months later, she asked him to leave.
In October of 2013, he applied for permanent residence based on their marriage, and they were interviewed separately in September 2014 and May 2015. In the second interview, Akanni said he lived with his wife, but investigators found that he lived with a woman who had his baby less than nine months later.
Indicted by a federal grand jury on Sept. 13, 2016, he was released on condition he appear for trial on Jan. 30.
In the early morning hours of January 31, 2017, Akanni was arrested attempting to enter Canada by officers from the Canada Border Service Agency. At the border, Akanni provided an American passport in another person’s name. Canadian officers returned him to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol checkpoint in Lewiston, N.Y. U.S. Marshals later returned Akanni to Rhode Island where he remained in federal custody.
On April 6, 2017, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Rasheed Abiodun Akanni with failure to appear before the U.S. District Court for trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Zechariah Chafee prosecuted the case. On April 11, 2017, pursuant to a memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Assistant U.S. Attorney Zechariah Chafee was appointed Border Security Coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island. Attorney General Sessions instructed each United States Attorney’s Office to designate a Border Security Coordinator to coordinate the District’s commitment to criminal immigration enforcement.
Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch also acknowledged and thanked the U.S. Customs & Border Protection Service in Buffalo, N.Y. for their assistance in bringing the case to a resolution.