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Document and Benefit Fraud

3 convicted in naturalization scheme

ICE and USCIS work together to stop fraud

PHILADELPHIA - Two doctors and a business man were convicted today for their role in a naturalization fraud conspiracy after an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Dr. Habeeb Malik, 60, of Broomall, Penn., Dr. Ira Weiner, 59, of Narberth, Penn., and Dr. Thongchai Vorasingha, 73, of Wallingford, Penn., were convicted July 20 by a federal court jury on charges they conspired to make false statements in applications to become U. S. citizens and committed fraud in connection with the applications. Malik was also convicted of filing false tax returns that failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxable income.

According to court records, Malik owned The Foundation of Human Services in Broomall which purported to assist foreign individuals in becoming naturalized U. S. citizens. As part of the scheme, Malik would refer clients to Weiner and Vorasingha who would "examine" the clients and then complete a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) waiver form N-648.

The N-648 waiver is a Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. The form is intended for applicants for U.S. citizenship who seek an exception to the English and civics testing requirements for naturalization "because of physical or developmental disability or mental impairment."

The waiver forms falsely stated that the applicants suffered from various permanent maladies that impaired their ability to learn English when in fact the doctors knew that the applicants did not suffer from any of these ailments and were not eligible for the waiver. Malik charged his clients approximately $2,000 for this service and paid Weiner and Vorasingha approximately $120 for the "examinations."

"This conviction is the direct result of close coordination between ICE and USCIS," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Philadelphia. "What we have been able to do together is expose a conspiracy to defraud the government and put a stop to individuals seeking to exploit our nation's immigration system. This case should put others on notice that ICE and USCIS will continue to work together to combat fraud and restore integrity to our nation's immigration system."

The conviction is the result of an investigation by ICE special agents assigned to the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force and was conducted in coordination with USCIS.

Weiner and Vorasingha face up to three years in prison. They will be sentenced on October 21 and October 22 respectively. Malik faces up to four years in prison and will be sentenced on October 20. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Michael Bresnick and Richard Zack.