Marine Corps Officer and Two-Time Iraq War Veteran Pleads Guilty to Citizenship Fraud Conspiracy

Conspired with former FBI and CIA employee Nada Prouty in naturalization fraud DETRIOT, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Samar Khalil Spinelli, 39, currently of Okinawa, Japan , formerly of Taylor, Mich., a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps...

Conspired with former FBI and CIA employee Nada Prouty in naturalization fraud

DETRIOT, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Samar Khalil Spinelli, 39, currently of Okinawa, Japan , formerly of Taylor, Mich., a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Detroit to conspiring with former FBI Agent and CIA employee Nada Nadim Prouty and Elfat El Aouar, the wife of fugitive restaurateur Talal Chahine, to commit citizenship fraud and passport fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy.

Mr. Murphy was joined in the announcement by Brian M. Moskowitz, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge, FBI.

At a hearing in Detroit before U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn , Spinelli, entered a plea of guilty to counts one and two of a fourth superseding information. Count one of the information charges conspiracy, for which the maximum penalty is five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Count two charges passport fraud, for which the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

According to court documents, Spinelli (originally Samar Khalil Nabbouh) entered the United States from Lebanon on a student visa in 1989. She resided in Taylor, Mich. with Elfat El Aouar and Nada Nadim Prouty. On April 13, 1990 , Spinelli entered into a fraudulent marriage with Jean Paul Deladurantaye in St. Clair Shores , Michigan for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws.

Spinelli later submitted a series of false, fraudulent and forged documents and letters to federal immigration officials to verify the validity of the fraudulent marriage in order to obtain permanent residency status, and, later, U.S. citizenship, thereby committing naturalization fraud. In fact, Spinelli hired Deladurantaye to marry her, never had any relationship with Deladurantaye and never resided with him as husband and wife. On Aug. 31, 1995 , after obtaining her U.S. citizenship, Spinelli filed for divorce falsely claiming to have "lived and cohabited together as husband and wife."

On Dec. 19, 1997 , Spinelli utilized her fraudulently obtained U.S. citizenship to obtain a commission as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. It is a prerequisite to becoming a commissioned officer, that one be a U.S. citizen. Spinelli was in the midst of her second tour of combat in Iraq , when she was extracted to answer the citizenship fraud charges.

In addition, Spinelli facilitated the fraudulent marriage of Nada Nadim Prouty (then Nada Nadim Al Aouar) to her fake brother-in-law, Chris Deladurantaye. Spinelli and Prouty were thus technically sisters-in-law through dual fraudulent marriages, while continuing to reside together in Taylor, Mich. Spinelli later assisted Nada Prouty in defrauding the Federal Bureau of Investigation into hiring Prouty by serving as a reference for Prouty in 1998 while attending the Marine Corps Basic School in Quantico, Va.

Notwithstanding her knowledge that Prouty had fraudulently procured U.S. citizenship and was thus completely ineligible to become an FBI agent, Spinelli told FBI investigators that she was not aware of any activity or conduct in Prouty's background which could in any way be used to subject her to influence, pressure, coercion, or compromise, or which would negatively reflect upon Prouty's character. Nada Prouty recently pleaded guilty to charges of fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship, which she later used to gain employment at the FBI and CIA, and to accessing a federal computer system to unlawfully query information about herself, Talal Chahine, Elfat El Aouar and the terrorist organization Hizballah.

U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy said, "With so many honest and hard-working immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship, with all the rights and privileges that confers, we cannot permit those who obtain this precious right by fraud to remain unchallenged. We will take action when appropriate to bring criminal charges in such situations."

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