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Dallas immigration attorney sentenced to 6 months in federal prison for marriage fraud scheme

3 Aug

DALLAS — A Dallas immigration attorney was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey to six months in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case.

Co-defendant Amna Cheema, 38, a Pakistani national, previously pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme and was sentenced to time served.

According to the plea agreement factual resume, in June 2015, Dallas immigration attorney Bilal Ahmed Khaleeq, 48, and others knowingly and unlawfully conspired and agreed together and with each other to unlawfully facilitate and enter into a marriage between Cheema and a U.S. citizen (Person A) to evade immigration laws. Cheema and Person A were married in Dallas County, Texas, and subsequently filed U.S. permanent residence applications with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in July 2015. In exchange for agreeing to marry Cheema, Person A was paid $745.

Cheema also admitted meeting with Khaleeq and Person A at Khaleeq’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 co-defendant 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.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Javier, Northern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.