News

Illegal Alien Sentenced in Racketeering Conspiracy


Conspirators Sought to Pay Bribes to a Government Official to Obtain Green Cards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2008

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis sentenced Mohammad Asif, age 33, formerly of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, today to 33 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for a racketeering conspiracy related to a scheme to bribe officials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to illegally obtain green cards, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Garbis also ordered that Asif forfeit $111,000. Asif is expected to be deported after serving his federal sentence.

According to his guilty plea, Asif was born in Pakistan and is neither a citizen nor a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Associates of Asif paid a cooperating witness, who held himself out to be involved in large-scale international drug trafficking and international smuggling of counterfeit cigarettes, $11,000 toward a $21,000 bribe to fraudulently obtain a green card for Asif. Green cards are otherwise known as lawful permanent resident cards. The associates had previously paid monies to the cooperating witness as bribes to abate sales and use taxes against their own businesses, and to fraudulently obtain green cards for their associates. The cooperating witness, acting at the direction of federal law enforcement, represented that he would facilitate payment of the bribes to his alleged contacts in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

On October 24, 2006, Asif met with the cooperating witness in Milwaukee, paid him $10,000 to complete the payment of his bribe and received his fraudulently obtained green card.

From November 2006 to June 2007, Asif helped to arrange four other of his associates to fraudulently obtain green cards through the payment of an additional $90,000 in bribes to the cooperating witness to pass on to an individual they believed to be an immigration official.

The payments for the bribes were all made to the cooperating witness, who provided the money to federal law enforcement agents. There were in fact no corrupt immigration and state officials involved in the scheme.

Most recently, Irshad Ahmed, age 46, of Jersey City, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to bribery and was sentenced to three years probation with 11 months of that to be served in community confinement. Saeed Ahmed, age 46, of Salisbury, Maryland, also pleaded guilty on August 5, 2008 to the racketeering conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on November 5, 2008 at 9:30 a.m. To date, 20 defendants have pleaded guilty to their participation in this scheme.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation for their investigative work and expressed appreciation to the Maryland Comptroller’s Office for its assistance in this case. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Christine Manuelian and P. Michael Cunningham, who are prosecuting the case.

 

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