Most entries below contain actual legal discussions of events directly related to Filipinos in or immigrating to the United States.
Remember- These writings are provided for general information only and do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. Each person's needs and requirements are different and require a personal evaluation to determine the proper legal course of action.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fact Check: Jeane Napoles' Use of U.S. Property for Citizenship Application?

I have been asked to review statements made in the Philippine media that touched on U.S. immigration law.

Here is the back story.  Jeane Napoles is the daughter of Janet Lim Napoles.  In what has become known in the Philippines as the “pork barrel scam”, the elder Napoles is accused of being the organizer behind a scheme that may have criminally diverted millions of government dollars originally intended to fund various projects throughout the country.  During the investigation it was learned that her daughter, Jeane, is the registered owner of multiple valuable properties, including a luxury Ritz-Carlton condominium in Los Angeles. Jeane Napoles has been charged by the [Philippine] Bureau of Internal Revenue with tax evasion.

Jeane Napoles’ defense to the tax charges, as stated by her attorney, is that the properties were put in her name to meet a requirement for U.S. Citizenship.  That brings us to U.S. immigration law.  I have been asked to judge the validity of this statement.

First, to ensure this is just not a misquote from a single reporter, we review multiple media sources.

“...Jeane acquired the properties from her mother because she was applying for a US citizenship.”  [ABS-CBN News]

“She said her mother Janet had said she placed the properties under Jeane’s name because the fashion designer needs to show she has properties in her bid for US citizenship.”  []

"Pinangalan namin sa kanya iyan kasi at that time she was applying for a US citizenship. Alam n'yo naman kung mag-apply ka ng citizenship kailangan mo ipakita na meron kang mga holdings, may properties ka,...". []

The essence of the statement remains consistent across multiple news sources and both languages.

So, the question:  “Is property ownership ever a requirement for U.S. Citizenship?”

Answer:  No.  Property ownership is never a requirement for U.S. Citizenship.  Residing in the U.S. over a period of time is a requirement In most - but not all - Citizenship cases, yet there is no requirement that any real property be owned by the applicant.  Ever.

That was easy to answer, but the real question remain as to the source of the money.  I expect courts in The Philippines to be wrestling with that question for years to come.

Go to the Most Recent Philippines-US Immigration Topics 

View Qualifications of Attorney James W. Austin

Go To Austin & Ferguson, LLC Home Page

No comments:

Post a Comment