Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Facilitating Fake Marriage in U.S.
The attorney facilitated a sham marriage between his Pakistani assistant and an Indian-origin American citizen in order to obtain a green card for her.
An immigration attorney in the United States has been sentenced to six months in prison for facilitating a sham marriage between his Pakistani female assistant and an Indian-origin American citizen. The purpose behind this fraud marriage scheme was to obtain a green card for her.
Bilal Ahmed Khaleeq, a 48-year-old immigration attorney in Dallas, conspired with others to arrange a fake marriage between Pakistani national Amna Cheema and an Indian-origin U.S. citizen to evade immigration laws, PTI reported.
Khaleeq was sentenced last month by U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey, announced U.S. attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
An immediate relative, including the spouse, of a U.S. citizen is eligible to apply for the green card or the Permanent Resident Card. Khaleeq was using this norm to get Cheema, 38, a green card.
The name of the Indian-origin naturalized American citizen was withheld, and he was identified only as “Person A.” He was paid $745 for agreeing to marrying Cheema, with promises of additional payment once the green card was approved for her.
Khaleeq and his assistant Cheema were charged in 2017, with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Khaleeq pleaded guilty in February this year while Cheema had admitted to the crime earlier. She was sentenced to time served.
According to the plea agreement, the fraudulent marriage took place in Dallas County, Texas, in June 2015. They subsequently filed permanent residence applications with the USCIS in July 2015.
Cheema admitted that she met Khaleeq and “Person A” at the attorney’s law office several times to prepare for the USCIS interview. They also discussed the required documentary evidence, including joint bank accounts, tax returns, and bills mentioning their joint residence. Khaleeq instructed the Indian-origin man to tell the USCIS officer falsely that he lived with Cheema, and prepared him with the questions he was likely to face during the interview process.
Khaleeq also represented the couple at the USCIS interview in April 2016 and advised them on additional evidence to make the marriage appear legitimate, according to co-defendant Cheema, the U.S. Department of Justice said in the statement.