A Somali man who settled in Maine 14 years ago after claiming refugee status under someone else’s name is suspected of falsifying passport and citizenship applications.

Hussien Noor Hussien, 55, most recently of Burlington, Vermont, was arrested there last week by the U.S. Marshals Service and is scheduled to appear in federal court in Portland on June 5. He has been charged with making a false statement on a passport application, procuring naturalization contrary to law and falsely using the personage of another in a naturalization proceeding.

He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, although he could be deported instead.

An affidavit by James Sauer, a special agent with the U.S. State Department, said the investigation into Hussien began in June 2017 after his passport was flagged. Over the course of almost a year, this is what Sauer uncovered.

Hussien entered the U.S. in August 2004 by claiming refugee status and using the name and identification of another man, Abukar Hassan Abdule, and traveling with Abdule’s wife and children. They settled in Lewiston, which is home to the state’s largest population of immigrants from war-torn Somalia.

Some time later, Hussien obtained a Maine driver’s license using Abdule’s name. In March 2007, he obtained legal permanent resident status under Abdule’s name. Four years later, in May 2011, he filed an application for naturalization using Abdule’s name. It was approved on Oct. 28, 2011.

With his driver’s license and naturalization certificate, Hussien applied for a passport at the post office in Lewiston, again using Abdule’s name.

Two years later, however, Hussien filed a form to renew his passport and this time he included a name change, to Hussien Noor Hussien, his real name.

Sauer, the investigating agent, said it wasn’t until May 2017 that anyone suspected Hussien may have improperly applied for legal documents. That’s when two of Abdule’s minor children applied for passports and had to supply identifying information about their parents, including the real Abdule, who was still living in Kenya. Suddenly, there were two individuals in the system both claiming to be Abukar Abdule.

Hussien was found living in Burlington in federally subsidized Section 8 housing with a woman and five children. He was working at a Walmart in nearby Williston and the pay stubs were in his real name.

Investigators interviewed Batula Ismail, who immigrated with Hussien and was identified as his wife when he first arrived in 2004. She said that she had been married to a man named Abukar Hassan Abdula (not Abdule) but they divorced in 1997. She said she then married Hussien in 2000, although “she never really considered herself married to Hussien.” They divorced in 2011 in Lewiston District Court, although he was living as Abukar Abdule at that time.

Sauer interviewed Hussien in Vermont in March. It’s not clear when he moved there from Maine.

During that interview, Sauer wrote, Hussien acknowledged using Abdule’s name and said that man cooperated in the deception.

Hussien was arrested on a warrant two months later.

He made an initial appearance in federal court in Vermont on May 23 and was appointed a counsel from the federal public defender’s office. Hussien, through his attorney, requested that the probable cause hearing be held in Maine and the case was transferred to U.S. District Court in Portland.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Masterson had filed a motion to keep Hussien detained until a trial. She wrote that he “presents a serious risk of flight,” and “has been engaged in fraudulent conduct since at least as early as 2004.”

“The evidence against Hussien is extremely strong. In addition to documentary evidence and witness testimony, Hussien admitted to his criminal conduct when questioned by the agents,” Masterson wrote. “Hussien has experience living outside of the United States and could easily handle living abroad if necessary to avoid the charges.”

The federal judge in Vermont, John Conroy, denied the motion for detention and Hussien was released with certain bail conditions, including that he appear in court in Maine on June 5.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

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