A Dallas, Texas, immigration attorney and his Pakistani national assistant were indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly scheming to commit marriage fraud.
Bilal Ahmed Khaleeq, 47, and Amna Cheema, a 37-year-old Pakistani national, were charged with one count each for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud after they allegedly schemed to make Cheema a permanent United States resident.
“Immigration attorneys risk severe consequences when they choose to illegally profit by breaking U.S. immigration laws rather than building a profession on following those laws,” Special Agent Katrina W. Berger said in a statement.
The indictment alleges that Khaleeq solicited a naturalized U.S. citizen from India to marry the Pakistani national to get permanent residence in the U.S. The person solicited by Khaleeq to marry Cheema was allegedly given $745 for his part in the marriage scheme and was promised by Khaleeq to be paid more when and if Cheema was granted U.S. permanent residency.
In June 2015, Cheema married the naturalized U.S. citizen, a wedding that was allegedly organized by Khaleeq who went on to represent the couple during interviews with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This is when, the indictment states, that Khaleeq told Cheema and the naturalized U.S. citizen to make their marriage look as if it were real by getting a joint bank account, filing tax returns as a couple and taking photos together to put in Cheema’s home.
Between January 2016 and March 2017, the indictment claims that Khaleeq, Cheema, and the naturalized U.S. citizen had multiple discussions about the necessity of making their marriage seem real so that the Pakistani national could gain permanent U.S. residency. This included Khaleeq allegedly coaching the couple on how to answer questions from USCIS and making sure federal authorities believed that the two were living together, even though they were not.
The naturalized U.S. citizen and Pakistani national were planning on staying married for as long as they thought necessary in order for Cheema to gain her residency, the indictment alleges.
Khaleeq and Cheema are now facing a maximum five year federal prison sentence and a $250,000 fine if convicted for the immigration marriage scheme.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.