Lackawanna man from Guinea charged for illegally trying to become a naturalized US citizen

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FILE – In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, the Department of Justice seal is seen in Washington, D.C. An internet firm is ending the automated registration of website names that include words or phrases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, in an attempt to combat coronavirus-related fraud. Los Angeles-based Namecheap Inc. made the pledge after a federal judge in Texas on Sunday, March 22, 2020, ordered the takedown of a website the U.S. Department of Justice accused of stealing credit card information while offering fake coronavirus vaccine kits. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A citizen of the West African nation of Guinea who’s currently living in Lackawanna is facing a four-count federal indictment for illegally trying to become a naturalized United States citizen and lying to federal authorities, according to the United States Attorney’s office.

51-year-old Mamadou Gando Balde, who also goes by Thierno O. Ba, was charged with attempted unlawful procurement of naturalization, making false statements in a naturalization proceeding and making a false statement to federal law enforcement officers.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey T. Fiut said the indictment claims Balde knowingly omitted going by the name “Thierno O. Ba” on an N-400 application used to apply for U.S. citizenship.

The 51-year-old is accused of lying to U.S. officials in documents about his identity used to enter the U.S. and gain immigration benefits.

When asked “Have you EVER given any U.S. Government officials any information or documentation that was false, fraudulent, or misleading?” and “Have you EVER lied to any U.S. Government officials to gain entry or admission into the United States or to gain immigration benefits while in the United States?” Balde responded “no,” which wasn’t true, according to a USAO news release.

If given the maximum penalty Mamadou Gando Balde could spend 10 years in prison and have to pay a $250,000 fine. Following arraignment Friday, Balde was released “on conditions.”

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