Anthony Joseph Tracy, who confessed to helping 272 Somalis travel illegally to the United States through Cuba last year, has been sentenced to 4 months in prison for his role in the scheme. With credit for time served, Tracy, who is thought to be cooperating with law enforcement, was released from jail June 4 and placed on probation.
Tracy said some of the individuals who approached him were associated with the terror organization al-Shabaab. Prosecutors said Tracy, (who converted to Islam while in prison during the 1990s) failed a lie-detector test when he denied helping members of that Al Qaeda-linked group.
Much of the court record in the case has been sealed or redacted. According to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court February 5, Immigration and Customs Enforcement by (ICE) Special Agent Thomas Eyre, "Tracy stated that he knew that the final destination for the Somalis for whom he obtained visas was the United States, with the visas fraudulently obtained in Kenya being the first step in the process."
Tracy, an informant for ICE and another unidentified federal agency, has admitted that after fraudulently obtaining the Cuban visas some of the Somalis traveled from Kenya to Dubai to Moscow to Cuba to South America with a goal of entering the United States. American officials have been unable to locate most of the Somalis involved in the fraud scheme and do not know if any have entered the country.
Tracy departed the United States for Nairobi, Kenya on April 9, 2009. He returned to the United States at JFK International Airport in New York on January 18, 2010 "and voluntarily consented to be interviewed" by the FBI and ICE special agents and an NYPD detective, according to Eyre's affidavit.
Tracy "said that he helped approximately 272 Somalis travel illegally to the United States, using his business, Noor Services Limited. Tracy admitted that he would help the aliens by providing and manufacturing the fake documents that are required to obtain Cuban visas, such as bank statements reflecting residency in Kenya for approximately 6 months, hotel accommodations in Cuba, and round trip airline tickets," the affidavit stated.
Tracy said he would charge between $100 and $1,000 for fraudulent supporting documents for the Somalis. He would take the documents to contacts at the Cuban Embassy in Kenya who would grant visas to enter that communist state.
According to the affidavit, Tracy stated in a subsequent interview "that after he arrived in Kenya in April 2009, it took him a couple of weeks to establish his visa fraud business. Tracy further stated that he helped 272 Somalis obtain fraudulent visas in Kenya between May 2009 and December 2009, at a rate of approximately five to ten Somalis a week."
When police searched Tracy's email account, they found a January 14, 2010 e-mail from Tracy to an acquaintance stating that "…I will be back in Kenya at the end of February, so contact me then and i will assist you inshallah. i helped alot of Somalis and most are good but there are some who are bad and I leave them to ALLAH…."