PORTLAND, Maine — A Westbrook woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of making false statements on immigration applications and two counts of making false statements on benefit applications.
Nasteho Sharif is facing a maximum sentence of five years in jail on each count, a fine of up to $250,000 and full restitution to the programs from where she illegally obtained the government benefits, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Court records revealed that in August 2003, Sharif entered the United States purporting to be someone else and never disclosed her true identity to immigration authorities. She was admitted to the U.S. as a refugee when in fact she was an impostor.
In September 2003, Sharif applied for a Social Security number claiming that she was lawfully admitted to the U.S. as a refugee. Soon after she arrived, Sharif moved to Maine and applied for federally funded benefits, including housing.
In her applications, Sharif falsely stated that she was a lawfully admitted refugee and provided her fraudulently obtained Social Security number. As a result, she received about $44,000 in federally funded benefits.
In October 2009, Sharif submitted an application to adjust her immigration status to that of a lawful permanent resident. This application contained a false representation that Sharif lawfully entered the U.S. as a refugee and also contained the fraudulently obtained Social Security number.