May 21, 2019

US Navy Veteran Accused of Passport Fraud

“U.S. Navy vetera, Elisha Dawkins, could go to prison for up to 10 years because he wasn’t quite sure what it meant to have requested a passport in the past.

US Navy Veteran Accused of Passport Fraud

Dawkins is charged with lying on a passport application he filled out five years ago. He has rejected an offer to join a pretrial diversion program. This offer would have meant no jail time for Dawkins. Criminal charges against him may have been dropped.

It seems a bit puzzling. Dawkins is charged because he wrote on his application that he had not requested a passport in the past when in fact he had. Dawkins says he had started filling out but never completed n application before the one he submitted in 3006.

So now we’ve established what it means to “”request”" a passport… apparently once you’ve got that application in your hot hands you’re in “”requesting”" mode. Yet Dawkins says he has done nothing wrong.

Can we really absolve ourselves of any wrongdoing because we are not aware of previously stated rules? Are these passport rules so obscure that even a man who served for the United States will have trouble deciphering them? For all we know Dawkins isn’t even telling the truth regarding how far he got on the previous application. Or perhaps he is just forgetful.

Faced with this question on the passport application I suppose my answer would have been the same as Dawkins’. I would not consider filling out an application partially and then not submitting to to be “”requesting”" a passport. However, I don’t feel my being ignorant of someone else’s definition makes me less culpable… it simply makes me ignoratn.

At the same time, boy, does it seem tough to obtain a passport! Once you’ve gone to AAA or some drugstore with a photo center to get your unnecessarily ugly passport photo taken you’ll need to wade through heaps and heaps of information on the U.S. government’s passport website. For instance, there are six different kinds of passport forms depending on your situation and a list of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions for the uninitiated) about three miles long! And did you know that you can now get an RFID passport card, but that it will not allow you to travel to Mexico or Canada?

Obtaining a passport certainly does seem complicated, as does Dawkins’ situation. At least we’ve learned one thing… if you ever have doubts about filling out your passport, find some help! Don’t let a lack of information be the reason you face possible jail time.”

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