Immigration Attorney Sentenced For Bribing An Immigration Official
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced attorney Kiran Dewan, age 60, of Woodbine, Maryland today to two years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for bribing a public official. Judge Quarles also ordered Dewan to forfeit $50,000.
The sentence 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); 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.
Dewan operated the Law Offices of Dewan and Associates, P.C., located at 7100 Security Boulevard in Windsor Mill, Maryland. He held himself out as having experience handling immigration matters and as a certified public accountant.
According to his plea agreement and court documents, from March 2011 to May 2013, Dewan conspired with clients, including Mohammad Khan, Narayan Thapa and Amjad Israr, to bribe an immigration official to provide immigration documents and benefits which would permit the clients to legally live and work in the United States. Unknown 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 United States. Dewan believed 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 to appear before an immigration judge, although in reality the 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 additional $5,000 bribe.
In 2012, Dewan 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.
Mohammad Khan, age 59, a citizen of Pakistan living in Baltimore who operated Pizza City in Brooklyn Park, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to immigration fraud and was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.
Amjad Israr, age 47, a Pakistani citizen living in Cheshire, Connecticut, who operated many convenience stores in Connecticut, previously 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. Narayan Thapa, age 52, a citizen of Nepal residing in Baltimore, also pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and awaits sentencing.
United States 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 United States Attorneys Harry M. Gruber and Gregory R. Bockin, who prosecuted the case.