Attorney Kiran Dewan, 59, of Woodbine, Maryland, pleaded
guilty to bribery, and one of his clients, Mohammad Khan, 58,
of Baltimore, also pleaded guilty to immigration fraud.
The pleas were announced by ther United States attorney for
the District of Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in
Charge William Winter of US Immigration and Customs
Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in
Baltimore; Chief James W Johnson of the Baltimore County
Police Department; and District Director Gregory Collett of
the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Baltimore
'Immigration attorneys hold positions of public trust and it is
disturbing that anyone would defraud the very system in
which they work for their own personal profit,' said Winter.
'Document and benefit fraud poses a significant vulnerability
to our national security and exploits America's legal immigration system. Whether you are trying to illegally obtain an
immigration benefit or facilitating the fraud, know this – you
will be found, arrested and held accountable for your actions.'
Dewan operated the law offices of Dewan and Associates, PC,
located at 7100 Security Blvd in Windsor Mill, Maryland. He
held himself out as having experience handling immigration
matters and as a certified public accountant.
According to his plea agreement, from March 2011 to May
2013, Dewan conspired with clients, including Khan, Narayan
Thapa and Amjad Israr, to bribe an immigration official who
was willing, in return for cash, to provide immigration documents and benefits which would permit the clients to legally
live and work in the United States. Unbeknown to Dewan and
the clients, the immigration contact was actually an undercover agent posing as a public official. Dewan's clients paid
$170,000 in cash to Dewan to bribe the ‘public official,’ of
which Dewan kept $50,000. In return for the bribes, the purported public official provided green cards for the clients.
Additionally, in March 2011, Dewan offered to pay the purported public official $5,000 to have a foreign national
removed from the US. Dewan was afraid that the foreign
national was going to start his own accounting business and
compete with Dewan. The purported public official pretended
to issue the notice of removal, although in reality USCIS had
already decided to issue this notice independently. Dewan
paid the $5,000 bribe in May 2011.
In the fall of 2011, Dewan offered to pay the purported public
official another $5,000 to remove and add documents to the
foreign national's USCIS files. Dewan explained that he had
previously submitted false tax returns to USCIS in support of
the foreign national's employment visa application and wanted those false tax returns replaced with new tax returns. In
November, the purported public official pretended to provide
the requested tax returns and Dewan subsequently paid the
In 2012, Dewan also spoke extensively about his knowledge of
establishing an overseas hawala to transfer the purported
public official's alleged bribery profits. A hawala allows an
individual to transfer money overseas using personal connec-
tions, without the money going through traditional govern-
ment-monitored means like money transfer services or banks.
Dewan stated that he had previously used this hawala method
for other clients, including a $400,000 transfer via a reverse
Dewan faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a
$250,000 fine for bribery. US District Judge William D
Quarles Jr scheduled Dewan's sentencing for March 6.
Khan, a citizen of Pakistan living in Baltimore, who operated
Pizza City in Brooklyn Park, Maryland, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for immigration fraud. Judge Quarles scheduled Khan's sentencing for
Earlier, Amjad Israr, age 46, a Pakistani citizen living in
Cheshire, Connecticut, who operated many convenience
stores in Connecticut, pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe an
immigration official in order to obtain lawful permanent residence (green card) and employment authorization documents. Judge Quarles sentenced Israr to 15 months in prison
Noncitizens must be warned of deportation risk:
The highest court in New York ruled that due process compels
state court judges to warn defendants in criminal proceedings
who are not US citizens that pleading guilty to a felony may
result in their deportation.
The court noted that 'deportation is a plea consequence of
such tremendous importance, grave impact and frequent
occurrence that a defendant is entitled to notice that it may
ensue… Due process compels a trial court to apprise a defendant that, if the defendant is not an American citizen, he or
she may be deported as a consequence of a guilty plea to a
The court partially overruled the 1995 case of People v Ford,
which held that a court's failure to advise a defendant of the
possibility of deportation never affects the validity of a guilty
plea. When Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform
and Immigrant Responsibility Act in 1996, many more minor
crimes became grounds for automatic deportation. Moreover,
Congress largely stripped prosecutors of the discretionary
ability to prevent the deportation of noncitizens who pleaded
guilty to such crimes, making deportation ‘practically
inevitable,’ regardless of whether people have been here legally for many years, have US citizen family members or children, or make significant contributions to their communities.
Many immigrants, both documented and undocumented, who
are deported due to criminal convictions have pleaded guilty,
often without advice about the immigration consequences or
any legal representation at all. Automatic deportation may
result, even for nonviolent offenses that are classified as misdemeanors under state law. According to Human Rights
Watch, 77 percent of lawfully present noncitizens deported
due to criminal convictions between 1997 and 2007 had not
The decision of New York's highest court builds on the case of
Padilla v Kentucky, in which the Supreme Court decided that,
due to the increasing harshness and inflexibility of immigration law, criminal defense lawyers had an obligation to warn
their clients of the possibility of deportation when advising
them whether to plead guilty.
See more at:
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Ajay K. Arora, Esq.
1270 Broadway, Suite 510
New York, NY 10001
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Immigration attorney pleads guilty to bribery
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