Minnesota man released on bond pending immigration fraud trial

Reuters News
Posted: May 12, 2014 8:48 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - A federal judge granted bond on Monday for a Minnesota man charged with failing to disclose military service or crimes committed in Bosnia in the 1990s when he applied to enter the United States.

Zdenko Jakisa, 45, who pleaded not guilty to the charge through his attorney, was granted his release, on a $25,000 signature bond with several conditions, pending a trial. Prosecutors had asked the judge to hold Jakisa in custody.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Janie Mayeron cited in part the fact that prosecutors had been investigating Jakisa since 2010 and had allowed him to go to Croatia and back at least once since then without taking him into custody.

Investigators had testified to interviewing Jakisa on April 15 and searching his house two days later, and he was not arrested until May 7, Mayeron said.

Prosecutors said Jakisa was a member of the armed forces of the Croatian Defense Council during the Bosnian war and also had been charged with crimes there, including murder, that he did not disclose on his refugee and green card applications.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security special agent testified Monday that Jakisa was accused of firing an AK-47 assault rifle through the bedroom window of an elderly Serbian neighbor's house in 1993, killing her, and then kidnapping, robbing and assaulting a Bosnian Muslim man who lived with her.

Jakisa, who owns a taxicab company, emigrated to the United States in the late 1990s while the case was still pending and was convicted in absentia, prosecutors said.

A federal public defender representing Jakisa declined to comment after the hearing.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Ken Wills)