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February 16, 2018Dallas, TX, United StatesDocument and Benefit Fraud

Dallas attorney pleads guilty to running marriage fraud scheme

DALLAS — A Dallas attorney pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas. 

Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case.

Bilal Ahmed Khaleeq, 47, will remain on supervised release pending sentencing, which is set for June 4.  Co-defendant Amna Cheema, 37, a Pakistani national, previously pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme and was sentenced to time served.

According to the plea agreement and factual resume, in June 2015, Khaleeq and others knowingly and unlawfully conspired and agreed together and with each other to unlawfully facilitate and enter into a marriage between co-defendant, Amna Cheema and a U.S. citizen (Person A) for the purpose of evading immigration laws. Cheema and Person A were married in Dallas County, Texas, and subsequently filed U.S. permanent residence applications with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in July 2015.  

In exchange for agreeing to marry Cheema, Person A was paid $745.  Co-defendant Cheema also admitted engaging in discussions with Khaleeq and Person A at Khaleeq’s law office on more than one occasion to discuss preparation for the USCIS interview and required documentary evidence including joint bank accounts, tax returns, and bills concerning their joint residence.  According to co-defendant Cheema, Khaleeq also represented the couple at the USCIS interview in April 2016 and advised them on additional evidence to make the marriage appear legitimate.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Javier, Northern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.