Three Sisters Convicted in Family-Sponsored Immigration Fraud Case
On September 21, 2018, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had assisted in the investigation of three individuals in upstate New York in a visa fraud case [PDF version]. The investigation led to the convictions of all three individuals.
The three individuals who were charged and ultimately convicted were Dalia Lita, Elina Rahman (E. Rahman), and Lubna Rahman (L. Rahman). The three individuals are sisters.
The USCIS detected fraud in the immigrant visa petitions involving the sisters and notified investigators of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case was then referred to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for criminal prosecution.
In 2001, Lita filed petitions for her two sisters, E. Rahman and L. Rahman. The evidence at trial established that Lita was aware that the petitions she filed on behalf of her sisters “contained false statements meant to conceal their true identities and prior, illegal residence in the [United States].” After the petitions were approved, E. Rahman and L. Rahman applied for immigrant visas “knowing that their applications also contained the same false statements.” E. and L. Rahman ultimately obtained immigrant visas based on their fraud.
The three sisters face serious penalties as a result of their convictions. The USCIS notes that they may each be sentenced to a maximum term of imprisonment of five years with a maximum term of post-imprisonment supervised release of three years. Furthermore, they may each be ordered to pay a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing will occur on January 14, 2019. The judge presiding over the case, Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy, will consider numerous factors in deciding on sentences.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and successfully prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason W. White.
On our site, we often discuss the severe immigration penalties that may stem from fraud. Aliens who procure or attempt to procure visas or other immigration benefits through fraud may face removal from the United States and ineligibility to obtain future benefits. However, this case highlights that certain forms of immigration fraud may also implicate U.S. criminal laws. Criminal sanctions may adhere in addition to civil immigration penalties. If an alien is facing immigration charges relating to fraud, or is seeking a waiver of inadmissibility due to immigration fraud, he or she should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. If an alien is criminally charged with offenses relating to immigration fraud, he or she will need to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. If the individual already has an immigration attorney, that attorney may assist him or her in finding criminal counsel.
Published at Wed, 26 Sep 2018 18:41:00 +0000