INDICTMENT CHARGES NINE CONNECTICUT
RESIDENTS WITH MARRIAGE FRAUD-RELATED OFFENSES
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport returned an indictment today charging nine individuals with for their alleged participation in a marriage fraud scheme.
The indictment charges each of the following individuals with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud:
FOUAD ELHADIRI, 31, of Waterbury,
BAHIJA SAADOUN, 36, of West Haven,
HAMID KASSEM, 38, of West Haven,
EBONY KASHANN JAYNES, 36, of New Haven,
RACHID SAADOUN, 27, of West Haven,
KHALID KASSEM, 41, of West Haven,
DAWN PECK, 34, of Madison,
FATIMA SAADOUN, 25, of West Haven,
GINO KOUSA, 48, of Bridgeport
According to court documents and statements made in court, in November 2010, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) initiated an investigation into fraudulent marriages that had allegedly been arranged between Moroccan nationals and U.S. citizens in order for the Moroccan nationals to unlawfully immigrate to the U.S. The investigation included the use of consensual recordings, an examination of immigration and airline records, and other information.
The investigation revealed that ELHADIRI allegedly arranged a fraudulent marriage between his brother, a Moroccan national, and a woman who is a U.S. citizen. ELHADIRI provided the U.S. citizen with several thousand dollars and a trip to Morocco in September 2007 in exchange for her agreement to file a petition for ELHADIRI’s brother to enter the U.S. and to thereafter marry him. The U.S. citizen married ELHADIRI’s brother in New Haven in May 2008.
It is further alleged that, in 1999, BAHIJA SAADOUN entered into a fraudulent marriage with a U.S. citizen. In recent years, she also has arranged fraudulent marriages between her brother RACHID SAADOUN, a Moroccan national, and JAYNES, a U.S. citizen; her sister FATIMA SAADOUN, a Moroccan national, and KOUSA, a U.S. citizen; and her brother-in-law KHALID KASSEM, a Moroccan national, and PECK, a U.S. citizen. JAYNES, KOUSA and PECK also are alleged to have received money and trips to Morocco for agreeing to enter into the fraudulent marriages. HAMID KASSEM, who is BAHIJA SAADOUN’s second husband, is alleged to have cosponsored the immigration applications for his brother, KHALID KASSEM, and his sister-in-law, FATIMA SAADOUN.
The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
The indictment also charges, ELHADIRI, HAMID KASSEM, JAYNES, RACHID SAADOUN, PECK and KOUSA with making a false swearing in an immigration matter. This charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Each of the defendants were arrested by criminal complaint on October 6, 2011.
This matter has been assigned to United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s ICE Homeland Security Investigations and Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Fraud Detection and National Security Unit. The Connecticut State Police, and the Norwalk, Trumbull, Bridgeport and Naugatuck Police Departments have assisted the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rahul Kale.
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