Attorney And Four Clients Indicted For Conspiracy To Bribe An Immigration Official
Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury has indicted an immigration attorney and four of his clients in connection with a conspiracy to bribe an immigration official in order to obtain lawful permanent residence, employment authorization documents and green cards. The defendants are:
Kiran Dewan, age 59, of Woodbine, Maryland;
Amjad Israr, age 46, of Cheshire, Connecticut;
Mohammad Khan, age 58, of Baltimore, Maryland;
Khazar Nadar, age 55, of Catonsville, Maryland; and
Narayan Thapa, age 51, of Perry Hall, Maryland.
The indictment was returned on January 8, 2013, and unsealed today upon the arrests of Dewan, Israr, Khan and Thapa.
The indictment was 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); District Director Gregory Collett of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Baltimore District Office; and Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department.
“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 ICE Homeland Security Investigations 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.”
According to the indictment, Dewan is a Maryland attorney, who held himself out as having experience handling immigration matters. Dewan operated the Law Offices of Dewan and Associates, P.C., located in Windsor Mill, Maryland. Israr, Khan and Nadar are citizens of Pakistan and Thapa is a citizen of Nepal. All were clients of Dewan. Israr and Khan were both businessmen, operating several convenience stores in Connecticut and a restaurant in Brooklyn Park, Maryland, respectively. Nadar worked at several gas stations in Maryland and Thapa worked at a Maryland restaurant. None of the clients met the requirements for lawful permanent residence, nor for employment authorization.
The five count indictment alleges that beginning in at least March 2011 Dewan obtained money from Israr, Khan, Nadar and Thapa to bribe an undercover agent to obtain lawful permanent residence, employment authorization documents and green cards. Dewan then allegedly prepared fraudulent immigration documents for his clients to sign and submit to the undercover agent. In the documents, Dewan, Israr and Khan falsely represented that Israr and Khan were married to U.S. citizens. Dewan, Nadar and Thapa falsely represented that Nadar and Thapa’s employers had sponsored them to seek lawful permanent residence.
The indictment alleges that the defendants met with the undercover HSI special agent on several occasions to create application documents for submission to USCIS. Although Dewan allegedly agreed to pay the undercover agent bribes for each client in order the obtain the requested documents, Dewan provided the undercover agent a total of $117,100 in a series of installments. Dewan kept $2,900 as his commission on a bribe payment of $36,000 that he wired to a foreign account, which purportedly belonged to the undercover agent.
The defendants each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy and a maximum of 15 years in prison for each count of bribery. An initial appearance is scheduled today for Dewan, Khan and Thapa in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Israr had an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, and was detained.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised HSI Baltimore, USCIS Baltimore District Office and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Harry M. Gruber and Gregory R. Bockin, who are prosecuting the case.