Attorney Kiran Dewan, age 59, of Woodbine, Md., pleaded guilty Dec. 13, 2013, to bribery, and one of his clients, Mohammad Khan, age 58, of Baltimore, also pleaded guilty to immigration fraud.

The pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and District Director Gregory Collett of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Baltimore District Office.

“Immigration attorneys hold positions of public trust and it is disturbing that anyone would defraud the very system in which they work for their own personal profit,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge in Baltimore William Winter. “Document and benefit fraud poses a significant vulnerability to our national security and exploits America's legal immigration system. Whether you are trying to illegally obtain an immigration benefit or facilitating the fraud, know this – you will be found, arrested and held accountable for your actions.”

Dewan operated the Law Offices of Dewan and Associates, P.C., located at 7100 Security Blvd. in Windsor Mill, Md. He held himself out as having experience handling immigration matters and as a certified public accountant.

According to his plea agreement, from March 2011 to May 2013, Dewan conspired with clients, including Khan, Narayan Thapa and Amjad Israr, to bribe an immigration official who was willing, in return for cash, to provide immigration documents and benefits which would permit the clients to legally live and work in the United States. Unbeknownst to Dewan and the clients, the immigration contact was actually an undercover agent posing as a public official. Dewan’s clients paid $170,000 in cash to Dewan to bribe the “public official,” of which Dewan kept $50,000. In return for the bribes, the purported public official provided green cards for the clients.

Additionally, in March 2011, Dewan offered to pay the purported public official $5,000 to have a foreign national removed from the U.S. Dewan was afraid that the foreign national was going to start his own accounting business and compete with Dewan. The purported public official pretended to issue the notice of removal, although in reality USCIS had already decided to issue this notice independently. Dewan paid the $5,000 bribe in May 2011.

In the fall of 2011, Dewan offered to pay the purported public official another $5,000 to remove and add documents to the foreign national’s USCIS files. Dewan explained that he had previously submitted false tax returns to USCIS in support of the foreign national’s employment visa application and wanted those false tax returns replaced with new tax returns. In November, the purported public official pretended to provide the requested tax returns and Dewan subsequently paid the $5,000 bribe.

In 2012, Dewan also spoke extensively about his knowledge of establishing an overseas Hawala to transfer the purported public official’s alleged bribery profits. A Hawala allows an individual to transfer money overseas using personal connections, without the money going through traditional government-monitored means like money transfer services or banks. Dewan stated that he had previously used this Hawala method for other clients, including a $400,000 transfer via a reverse Hawala method.

Dewan faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for bribery. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. scheduled Dewan’s sentencing for March 6, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.

Khan, a citizen of Pakistan living in Baltimore, who operated Pizza City in Brooklyn Park, Md., faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for immigration fraud. Judge Quarles scheduled Khan’s sentencing for Feb. 25, 2014, at 1 p.m.

Amjad Israr, age 46, a Pakistani citizen living in Cheshire, Conn., who operated many convenience stores in Connecticut, pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe an immigration official in order to obtain lawful permanent residence (green card) and employment authorization documents. Judge Quarles sentenced Israr to 15 months in prison on Sept. 20, 2013.

U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised HSI Baltimore, the Baltimore County Police Department and USCIS Baltimore District Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harry M. Gruber and Gregory R. Bockin, who are prosecuting the case.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is dedicated in its advocacy and community involvement efforts towards achieving effective comprehensive immigration policy reform. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced it will extend the suspension of certain requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant Haitian students who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti. This relief applies only to students whose country of citizenship is Haiti and who were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 status on Jan.12, 2010, and enrolled in an institution certified by ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

The original announcement was made in the Federal Register on Sept. 15, 2010, at 75 FR 56120. The current extension will enable eligible F-1 students to continue to obtain employment authorization, work an increased number of hours during the school term, and if necessary, reduce their course load while continuing to maintain their F-1 student status. The suspension of the regulatory requirements will remain in effect through Jan. 22, 2016.

"The extension of employment for Haitian students who have suffered the economic hardship from the earthquake in Haiti will permit them to focus on their education in the United States while easing the worry of a financial burden," said Louis Farrell, director for SEVP.

The ongoing devastation and unstable conditions caused by the earthquake in Haiti increased the financial burden on many of these students, who previously relied on assistance from the Haitian government or family members in Haiti to meet basic living expenses. While the Government of Haiti has made progress in improving security and quality of life of its citizens following the January 2010 earthquake, Haiti continues to lack the adequate infrastructure, employment and educational opportunities, and basic services. As of Feb. 3, there were 820 active F-1 Haitian students currently enrolled in SEVP-certified schools in the United States.

ICE manages SEVP, the program that administers the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Since 2003, SEVIS has automated the process for collecting, maintaining and managing information about nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors and their dependents during their stay in the United States.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

A Maryland man was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison followed by a year of supervised release for conspiring to commit immigration fraud.

Gasim Manafov, 36, of Ocean City, Md., and Charlotte, N.C., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Baltimore County Police Department.

"Benefit fraud poses a severe threat to national security and public safety because it creates a vulnerability that may enable terrorists, criminals, and illegal aliens to gain entry to and remain in the United States under a guise of legitimacy," said HSI Ocean City Resident Agent in Charge Francis J. McGarvey. "HSI will work with our partners at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in an effort to maintain the integrity of the immigration system by vigorously investigating and prosecuting individuals like Gasim Manafov, who try to exploit the asylum process."

According to his plea agreement, from 2007 to 2012, Manafov conspired with others in assisting approximately 70 individuals to fraudulently apply for asylum benefits. Manafov gave the individuals fake stories to describe how the applicant’s family was purportedly hurt or killed due to political or ethnic affiliation. He provided fake foreign documents to prove these stories. Manafov prepared the applicants for interviews with officials, and attended the interviews. He also referred an applicant to a co-conspirator knowing that they would engage in a fraudulent marriage for immigration purposes, suggested that the applicant apply for immigration benefits in the Miami U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office to avoid the scrutiny he knew he was under in the Baltimore USCIS office, and coached the applicant on how to lie to officials interviewing her.

Manafov obtained $210,000 from the individuals fraudulently applying for asylum benefits.

Two other conspirators previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and were sentenced to one and three months in prison, respectively.

The case was prosecuted in the District of Maryland by Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry M. Gruber.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Haiti for an additional 18 months, effective July 23, 2014 through Jan. 22, 2016.

Current Haitian beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during a 60-day period that runs from March 3, 2014, through May 2, 2014. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible once the 60-day period begins. USCIS will not accept applications before March 3, 2014.

The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible Haitian TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of Jan. 22, 2016. USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current EADs expire. Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS Haiti EADs bearing a July 22, 2014 expiration date for an additional six months. These existing EADs are now valid through Jan. 22, 2015.

To re-register, current TPS beneficiaries must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Re-registrants do not need to pay the Form I-821 application fee, but they must submit the biometric services fee, or a fee-waiver request, if they are age 14 or older. All TPS re-registrants must also submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. TPS re-registrants requesting an EAD must submit the Form I-765 application fee, or a fee-waiver request. If the re-registrant does not want an EAD, no application fee is required.

Applicants may request that USCIS waive the Form I-765 application fee or biometrics fee based on an inability to pay by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a written request. Fee waiver requests must be accompanied by supporting documentation. Failure to submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee-waiver request will result in the rejection of the TPS application.

All USCIS forms are free. Applicants can download TPS forms from www.uscis.gov/forms or request them by calling USCIS toll-free at 1-800-870-3676.

Additional information on TPS for Haiti—including guidance on eligibility, the application process, and where to file—is available online at www.uscis.gov/tps. Further details on this extension of Haiti for TPS, including application requirements and procedures, are available in the Federal Register notice published today.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is dedicated in its advocacy and community involvement efforts towards achieving effective comprehensive immigration policy reform. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.