A citizen of Morocco was sentenced to three months imprisonment for his role in a marriage fraud scheme between Moroccan nationals and U.S. citizens.
In a press release, U.S. Attorney David B. Fein announced that Khalid Kassem, 41, a resident of West Haven, was the subject of a Homeland Security Investigation that began in November 2010. Federal authorities said Kassem arranged the marriages so that the individuals could unlawfully immigrate to the United States.
The investigation included the use of consensual recordings, an examination of immigration and airline records, and other information, the press release stated.
Police units from multiple towns assisted in the investigation, as part of Home Land Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcment unit (ICE). Det. Jack DeOliviera, a member of ICE, was numbered among those local police units in the investigation.
Other investigators came from Norwalk, Trumbull, Bridgeport and the state police, federal authorities said.
According to the press release, the investigation revealed Kassem’s sister-in-law, Bahija Saadoun, recruited a co-worker, Dawn Peck, an American citizen, to marry Kassem. As part of the scheme, Saadoun provided Peck with an all-expense paid trip to Morocco and $6,000 cash.
Peck signed a fraudulent Alien Fiancé Petition and, based on the fraudulent petition, Citizenship and Naturalization Services granted KASSEM a conditional green card.
In November, Kassem pleaded guilty to one count of making a false swearing in an immigration matter. He has been detained since being arrested on Oct. 6 and will be deported to Morocco.
Saadoun and Peck have each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and await sentencing.