CHICAGO —(ENEWSPF)–April 1, 2016. A Chicago physician and a member of her staff have been indicted for falsifying medical certifications to help applicants bypass tests for U.S. citizenship.
DR. JASMINKA KOSTIC and NIKKI POZDOL fraudulently diagnosed the applicants as physically or mentally impaired, which purportedly rendered them unable to demonstrate the required knowledge of U.S. history and the English language, according to an indictment returned yesterday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. A medical certification of impairment allows individuals to seek a waiver from the civics and English-language tests required for naturalized U.S. citizenship.
Dr. Kostic, 59, of Chicago, and Pozdol, 47, of Chicago, are each charged with one count of knowingly making false statements in a document submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Dr. Kostic is also charged with one count of attempted unlawful procurement of citizenship or naturalization. Both charges are punishable by a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
An arraignment date in federal court in Chicago has not yet been scheduled.
Dr. Kostic is a licensed physician who maintains a medical practice on the North Side of Chicago. Pozdol worked in Dr. Kostic’s office. According to the indictment, Dr. Kostic and Pozdol falsely certified that an applicant was unable to demonstrate the ability to read, write and speak English, and unable to answer questions regarding U.S. history and civics – even in a language understood by the applicant. The certification also provided a false length of time in which a medical examination was allegedly rendered to the applicant, and a false description of the clinical methods used to diagnose the purported impairments, according to the indictment.
Dr. Kostic and Pozdol fraudulently certified the impairment results as true and correct in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form N-648, titled “Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions,” the indictment states. The false N-648 would have allowed the individual to request a physical or mental impairment exception to the civics and English-language tests required for U.S. citizenship, according to the indictment.
The indictment was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; James M. Gibbons, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Devlin Su.