BOSTON - In a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Boston today, Aftab Ali, aka Aftab Ali Khan, 28, formerly of Watertown, Mass., was charged with immigration fraud and making false statements.
The complaint alleges that Ali, a Pakistani citizen, entered the country in August 2009 to marry his then-fiancé and began working at a Brookline, Mass., gas station despite lacking a work permit. It is alleged that approximately three months later, after marrying a different woman, Ali defrauded the government by filing documents to adjust his immigration status in which he knowingly omitted his unauthorized employment. These charges are the result of a joint investigation led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The complaint further alleges that following the Times Square attempted bombing on May 1, 2010, investigators obtained evidence that Ali had provided $4,900 to Faisal Shahzad, who was later convicted of carrying out the bombing attempt. The complaint alleges that Ali borrowed the $4,900 from the manager of the Brookline gas station where he was employed and transferred it to Shahzad in February 2010 as part of a "hawala" transaction in which Ali's family received an equivalent amount of money in Pakistan. The complaint alleges that as part of the investigation into the Times Square bombing attempt, agents searched Ali's apartment, and agents interviewed Ali to determine his immigration status. It is alleged that during the course of the interview Ali again knowingly concealed his employment at the Brookline gas station and made other false statements. The complaint does not allege that Ali was aware of the intended use of the $4,900 that he allegedly provided to Shahzad.
If convicted, Ali faces up to 10 years imprisonment, to be followed by three-year term of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the charge of immigration document fraud and up to five years imprisonment to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the charge of making false statements.
Carmen M. Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI office in Boston and Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston field office made the announcement today. The investigation was also assisted by members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force which consists of various federal, state and local agencies. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb in Ortiz's Antiterrorism and National Security Unit.
The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.