A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement supervisor is awaiting arraignment after a federal grand jury in El Paso indicted him for allegedly stealing government funds and misusing a diplomatic passport.
Ahmen Adil Abdallat, 63, was arrested Feb. 24, according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The indictment, returned Feb. 23, charges him with eight counts of misusing a diplomatic passport and one count of conversion of public money.
A detention hearing before a federal magistrate judge is set for Wednesday afternoon. In a court filing, a federal prosecutor argued that Abdallat should be held without bail because he is a flight risk. If convicted Abdallat faces up to 10 years in prison and fines as much as $250,000 per count.
Abdallat, a supervisory intelligence research specialist, has worked for ICE and its predecessor since 1995. The responsibilities of an intelligence research specialist include analyzing and evaluating information, and coordinating and preparing intelligence products, according to a government web site.
His attorney, Mary Stillinger, said the charges were “terribly exaggerated,” according to The Associated Press.
The indictment and arrest came soon after a CIR report, published in the Washington Post, that the chief of intelligence for ICE was one of a number of ICE employees under investigation for personal misconduct.
James Woosley, the assistant director for intelligence, has been relieved of his post. James Chaparro is the new head of intelligence for the agency, which along with enforcing immigration and customs law also investigates terrorism.
Abdallat, who has tourist, official and diplomatic U.S. passports, was temporarily stationed at U.S. embassies and missions in several foreign countries. Since December 2008 Abdallat has been assigned to El Paso, according the indictment.
Starting in October 2007, Abdallat used his diplomatic passport eight times for personal travel to and from Amman, Jordan. Four of those times — as recently as December — occurred after he was assigned to El Paso and had no official embassy or related activities that required overseas travel on a diplomatic passport.
The indictment also alleges that Abdallat submitted fake receipts, used government funds for unauthorized car rentals and requested reimbursements for expenses without receipts or weren’t incurred by him for travel between February 2009 and September 2010.
According to court documents, Abdallat received about $123,000 in travel voucher reimbursements for travel from El Paso to Washington, D.C. at least 13 times on temporary duty assignments during that time period.