Immigration Fraud Schemes on the Rise, in Vegas and Beyond

Immigration Fraud Increases in Las Vegas

According to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, two suspects are being charged with defrauding victims of thousands of dollars by selling them phony immigration documents.

The Clark County grand jury indicted Ernesto Gerardo Fernandez-Carranza and Alicia Herrera on multiple felony charges of theft, possession or sale of a document or personal identifying information to establish false status or identity, and multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in the course of an enterprise or occupation.

Preying on an Unsuspecting Community

Nevada Attorney General, Adam Laxalt, shared in a news release, “Our immigrant community should be protected from exploitation by unscrupulous fraudsters. My office will continue to safeguard the integrity of the legal immigration system and prosecute those seeking to undermine it.”

In another recent case, David Anton Thomas falsely represented himself as a former FBI agent who was able to secure people with permanent, legal residency in the United States if they paid him at least $3,500, according to officials.

Thomas used his “Can You Hear Me Crying” organization as a front for this deception; a criminal complaint shows he defrauded at least five victims during a year-long period.

“Scammers prey on our unsuspecting immigrant communities by promising fast and hassle-free services,” Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt said.

Thomas was indicted by a Clark County grand jury on four counts of theft in the amount of $3,500 or more and one count of multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in course of enterprise or occupation.

Schemes Run Rampant Across the Country

In an even larger scandal, the FBI recently busted the California Investments Immigration Fund after an extensive investigation over an alleged $50 million high-end visa fraud scheme involving as many as 100 wealthy Chinese nationals. The key suspects were helping Chinese individuals obtain residency visas in the United States in exchange for bogus investments.

More specifically: the scandalous program offered foreign nationals permanent US residency, (green cards) in exchange for a minimum investment of $500,000 into a U.S. based business that would allegedly create new jobs in the States. In truth, the green cards were never properly and legally obtained, and the monies paid were never invested in a U.S. based business.

In another case, in Dallas, an immigration lawyer was charged with arranging a sham marriage. Attorney Bilal Ahmed Khaleeq and his assistant, Amna Cheema, a Pakistani national, were both charged with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud after Khaleeg arranged a bogus marriage for Cheema so she could live in the U.S.

The indictment alleges that in May 2015, Khaleeq paid a U.S. citizen to marry Cheema so she could become a legal permanent resident. The husband, a native of India, was not identified in the indictment.

It is alleged that Khaleeq also coached the husband on how to answer questions during the official interview, for example, to claim he shared a residence with Cheema. As well, according to the indictment, Khaleeq helped the couple prepare documents “needed to make the marriage appear legitimate,” including joint bank accounts, tax returns, and bills associated with a joint residence.

Khaleeq claims he is innocent and notes that his firm is the largest one serving the local Indian and Pakistani community. “We’re very careful about what we do and how we do it,” Khaleeq reported.

Individuals seeking legal assistance with immigration law matters are advised to call a licensed attorney for help in securing their citizenship status rightly and legally, officials say.


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