Woman indicted on citizenship application fraud - East Valley Tribune: News

Woman indicted on citizenship application fraud

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Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2006 5:13 am | Updated: 4:21 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A Paradise Valley socialite has been indicted on charges she lied on an application to become a U.S. citizen.

The four-count indictment, which was unsealed Friday, a month after the grand jury returned it, also alleges that former Miss Bolivia Sonia Falcone obtained immigration paperwork by engaging in marriage fraud.

The U.S. Attorney for Arizona declined to say whether the marriage referred to in the indictment is her marriage to Pierre Falcone, an international businessman who spent a year in a French jail on suspicion of buying arms for troops fighting in Angola’s civil war.

Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents served a search warrant on the Falcone home and arrested the mother of three.

She appeared in U.S. District Court in high heels, leg irons and handcuffs.

“What we have right now are some accusations and we believe at the end of the day that it will result in what can best be described as a misunderstanding,” said family publicist Jason Rose. “This is a family that has been through some challenges in recent years and come through those challenges.”

French authorities released Pierre Falcone in December 2001 after dropping charges of arms-dealing, tax fraud and influence peddling.

French authorities had alleged they tied Pierre Falcone to $1.8 million in payments between 1993 and 1998 to the oldest son of former French President Francois Mitterrand.

Sonia Falcone was freed Friday on $50,000 bail, and she was ordered to surrender her passport and those of her children.

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