A Ghanaian physician residing in Fulton, Maryland in the U.S. has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for the federal charge of passport fraud.
Fifty-year-old Michael Nana Baako who practised in hospitals in Maryland and maintained his own clinic, Biazo Healthcare, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on Friday.
According to Baako’s plea agreement, since at least 2001, Baako and R.A.A. have lived together in Howard County, Maryland and are the parents of two minor children.
Baako and R.A.A. married in Ghana in 1995. Months later, Baako entered the United States legally after obtaining a visitor’s visa. In 1996, Baako applied for certification of his Ghanian medical education in the United States.
In 1998, Baako married a U.S. citizen in Virginia, who filed a petition for Baako to become a naturalized United States citizen three weeks later.
The petition was denied in 2000 after immigration officials concluded that Baako’s marriage was a “sham” marriage entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. In 2001, Baako was licensed to practice in Maryland as a physician.
On November 29, 2005, Baako registered to vote in Maryland, swearing that he was a United States citizen, and subsequently voted in 10 federal elections between November 7, 2006 and November 6, 2018.
On December 15, 2006, Baako obtained a new Ghanaian passport in Accra, Ghana, as a Ghanaian national.
On April 17, 2007, and September 16, 2009, respectively, Baako and R.A.A. submitted passport applications on behalf of their minor children, in which Baako falsely claimed that he was a citizen of the United States, born in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
On April 22, 2008, Baako submitted an application for a United States passport for himself in which he falsely claimed that he was born in North Carolina, as were both of his parents.
As part of his passport application, Baako provided an affidavit purporting to be from a family friend, falsely stating that this person was one of the first people to see Baako after his birth and was present at a subsequent naming and baptism ceremony for Baako at a Hillsborough, North Carolina church.
Baako was issued a U.S. passport on April 29, 2008, which he used for international travel on several occasions. That passport included the false information that Baako was a citizen of the United States born in North Carolina.
On July 31, 2012, Baako and R.A.A. submitted a passport renewal application on behalf of their first child, in which Baako falsely stated that he was a citizen of the United States.
On February 20, 2018, Baako filed a passport renewal application for his own passport, again falsely stating that he was a U.S. citizen born in North Carolina.
Baako was interviewed by Department of State officials on April 22, 2010, and on June 12, 2018. In both interviews, Baako falsely stated that he was born in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
On May 8, 2019, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Baako’s home and located his Ghanaian passport and plans for the three-bedroom home Baako purchased in Accra, Ghana in August 2012.
Investigators also obtained a number of documents related to Baako’s ongoing efforts to fraudulently obtain documentation establishing that he was a U.S. citizen born in North Carolina, including a false affidavit purporting to be sworn by the Baako’s mother, claiming that he was born in North Carolina; a page from the family Bible falsely stating it had been presented to Baako at his birth in North Carolina; a falsified baptism certificate purporting to be from a North Carolina church, certifying that Baako was born in North Carolina; and several draft petitions to the Circuit Court for Howard County seeking to fraudulently establish the fact of his birth in North Carolina.
Baako has been detained since his arrest on May 8, 2019. As stated at Friday’s hearing, the Department of Homeland Security has initiated removal proceedings against Baako.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended DSS for its work in the investigation. Mr Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary A. Myers and Daniel A. Loveland, who prosecuted the case.