A Bosnian Serb residing in North Carolina pleaded guilty today lying to obtain lawful permanent resident status by concealing his military status and criminal activity during the war in Bosnia. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan and Special Agent in Charge Nick Annan of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Atlanta made the announcement.
Milan Trisic, 54, most recently residing in Charlotte, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to a single count of obtaining a Permanent Resident Card, commonly referred to as a “green card,” by making materially false claims and statements. Trisic entered his plea before Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer in the U.S. District Court in Charlotte.
“Those who seek to come to this country must respect our laws,” said Attorney General Sessions. “Entering this country on the basis of fraud is unacceptable. The American people can be assured that this Department is working every day to protect them from the threat posed by criminals who seek to take advantage of our generous immigration system. I want to commend our Homeland Security Investigators and DOJ attorneys for achieving justice in this case.”
According to the admissions made in connection with his plea, Trisic, an ethnic Serb with Bosnian citizenship, is a lawful permanent resident of the United States living in North Carolina. On Nov. 3, 2016, Trisic possessed a green card that was unlawfully obtained. In response to questions on his legal permanent resident application, Trisic knowingly concealed his military service in the Bratunac Brigade, a unit in the Army of the Serb Republic; concealed his criminal activity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and lied about his whereabouts during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early and mid-1990s.
As part of his plea of guilty, Trisic admitted that he served in the Army of the Serb Republic as a member of the Bratunac Brigade during various tours of duty between April 1992 and January 1996, at a time when Bosnia and Herzegovina was in the midst of a civil war. Due to its proximity to Serbia, in 1992 forces both aligned with and from Serbia began an ethnic cleansing campaign against the non-Serbian population in and around Bratunac. Trisic admitted that he engaged in various unlawful activities while serving with the Bratunac Brigade, such as the unlawful beating, detention and transportation of Muslim prisoners. Additionally, Trisic admitted that the Bratunac Brigade, operating primarily in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, was one of the military units responsible for the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre that resulted in the deaths of between 7,000 and 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men.
Trisic also admitted that he knowingly lied about his whereabouts during the war in Bosnia. In order to obtain refugee status, Trisic falsely claimed that he resided in Serbia during the war, when in fact he actually resided in Bratunac, Bosnia, where he served as part of the Bratunac Brigade. Trisic later used his illegally obtained status as a refugee to unlawfully obtain permanent resident status in the United States.
Sentencing is not yet scheduled. As part the plea agreement, Trisic will be ordered removed from the United States upon completion of his sentence.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by HSI.
Trial Attorneys Frank G. Rangoussis and Ann Marie Ursini of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Smith from the Western District of North Carolina are prosecuting the case.