US immigration attorney Bilal Ahmed Khaleeq sentenced to 6 months in federal prison for marriage fraud scheme

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New York | Updated: August 3, 2018 12:58:58 PM

A US attorney has been sentenced to six months in jail for unlawfully facilitating a marriage between his female Pakistani assistant and an Indian-origin naturalised American citizen so that she could obtain a Green Card.

Immigration attorney, federal prison, marriage fraud, marriage fraud scheme, Bilal Ahmed Khaleeq, Green Card, world newsCheema had previously pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme and was sentenced to time served. (Representational image: Reuters)

A US attorney has been sentenced to six months in jail for unlawfully facilitating a marriage between his female Pakistani assistant and an Indian-origin naturalised American citizen so that she could obtain a Green Card. Bilal Ahmed Khaleeq, 48, who was an immigration attorney in Dallas, conspired with others to unlawfully facilitate a marriage between 38-year old Pakistani national Amna Cheema and the Indian-origin US citizen, identified only as ‘Person A’, to evade immigration laws, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

Cheema had previously pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme and was sentenced to time served. According to the plea agreement, Cheema and the US citizen were married in Dallas County in June 2015 and subsequently filed permanent residence application with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in July 2015. In exchange for agreeing to marry Cheema, ‘Person A’ was paid USD 745.

Cheema also admitted to meeting Khaleeq and ‘Person A’ at the attorney’s law office on more than one occasion to prepare for the USCIS interview and required documentary evidence, including joint bank accounts, tax returns, and bills concerning their joint residence. According to Cheema, Khaleeq also represented the couple at the USCIS interview in April 2016 and advised them on additional evidence to make the “marriage” appear legitimate.

Khaleeq had also coached the Indian-origin man on how to address the questions that would be posed during the USCIS interview process and specifically instructed him to tell the USCIS adjudications officer that he cohabited with Cheema, even though that was a false statement, according to documents. Additionally, the parties discussed filing joint tax returns to provide additional evidence and discussed how long the individual and Cheema should remain “married” in order for her to obtain US permanent residence.

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