RALEIGH – Michael F. Easley, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced December 14 that on November 16, 2021, a federal grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of North Carolina returned a sealed, ten-count indictment charging Garbant Piquant with passport fraud, voting by an alien, and falsely claiming to be a United States citizen in order to register to vote.
Garbant Piquant, 53, residing in Garner, was arrested on December 9, 2021.
According to court documents and information presented in court, on October 6, 2014, Piquant applied for a renewal of his previously issued U.S. passport. The U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) initiated an investigation into the veracity of the Virginia birth certificate that Piquant had previously used to establish U.S. citizenship.
Record checks with the Virginia Office of Vital Statistics indicated that the birth certificate was not on record with the Commonwealth of Virginia and had not been issued. Further investigation by DSS located a birth record for Piquant in the Bahamas, as well as U.S. Immigration records that reveled Piquant’s brother had previously filed a petition for lawful permanent residence on his behalf.
As a result of Piquant falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen and being previously issued a U.S. passport on November 6, 2018, Piquant cast a ballot in Wake County for the primary election. Additionally, on February 11, 2019, Piquant submitted his fraudulently obtained U.S. passport and voter registration card to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles in order to procure a Real Identification Driver’s License.
From November 2018, through November 2020, Piquant, voted in all Primary and General Elections, claiming that he was a U.S. citizen. Piquant cast ballots in person, early voting, and by using absentee ballots.
If convicted of passport fraud, Piquant faces up to ten years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000 or both. If convicted of voting by alien, Piquant faces up to one year in federal prison and fines of up to $100,000 or both. If Piquant is convicted of making a false claim of U.S. citizenship, Piquant faces up to three years in federal prison and fines up to $250,00 or both. If convicted of making a false statement and claim of U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote, Piquant faces up to five years in federal prison and fines up to $250,000 or both.
The case is being investigated by DSS, Homeland Security Investigations, and the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, License and Theft Bureau.