A Dallas attorney has been indicted for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud after federal officials alleged he arranged a phony marriage for his legal assistant in order for her to obtain legal residency in the United States.
According to the recently unsealed indictment, Bilal Ahmed Khaleeq — who practices immigration, family, and bankruptcy law — solicited an unnamed U.S. citizen originally from India and paid him $745 to marry his legal assistant, Amna Cheema, a Pakistani citizen, in order for her to obtain lawful U.S. residency.
“Immigration attorneys risk severe consequences when they choose to illegally profit by breaking U.S. immigration laws rather than building a profession on following those laws,” said Katrina Berger, a special agent in charge of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations in Dallas (HSI), which investigated the case along with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
“HSI leads a Dallas-area Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force and partners daily with many local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration laws. HSI and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate immigration fraud — especially by immigration attorneys,” Berger added.
Khaleeq, of Dallas’ Khaleeq Law Firm, and Cheema both did not immediately return calls for comment. Cheema was also charged with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud in the indictment.
According to the indictment, Khaleeq advised the couple to tell U.S. Immigration officials that they lived together even though that was a false statement, and told Cheema’s alleged accomplice to leave some articles of clothing in her residence to make it appear he was living there in case immigration officials checked.
Khaleeq represented Cheema in filing a I-130 immigration petition and helped Cheema obtain supporting documents to make her marriage appear legitimate, including joint bank accounts, tax returns, bills and other fraudulent evidence, the indictment alleges. He also advised the couple that such an arrangement was in violation of federal criminal law, but that it was highly unlikely there would be criminal consequences for their actions, the indictment adds.