A federal jury yesterday convicted two Iranian-Americans of submitting false immigration documents to U.S. officials on behalf of wealthy Iranians seeking permanent residence here.
The jury deliberated about five hours in Washington's U.S. District Court before finding Shams Din Javid, 48, of Falls Church guilty of 17 counts of filing false documents with Immigration and Naturalization Service officials.
His sister-in-law, Kheiri Javid, 30, of Los Angeles, was found guilty of two counts of filing false documents. Shams Javid also was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the government by bribing an immigration examiner to approve the fraudulent applications.
The Javids, Shams Javid's sister, Ashraf Tiller, 27, of Arlington and Hassan Hadj Mohammadi, 28, of Bethesda were indicted last September by a federal grand jury on charges of filing false documents and conspiracy. Tiller pleaded guilty March 18 to one count of filing false documents. Mohammadi pleaded guilty last October to one count of conspiracy to bribe the INS examiner and one count of filing false documents. Each count is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The grand jury charged that Iranians wanting permanent residency status paid fees of up to $30,000 to the four intermediaries who then submitted false applications to INS officials, stating that the applicants were either spouses, parents or siblings of U.S. citizens. Applicants who are spouses of citizens are exempt from immigration quotas; brothers and sisters of citizens get special treatment.
Both Shams Javid and Mohammadi allegedly conspired to bribe Jerry Kenneth Hirsch, an immigration examiner in the Washington District Office, according to the indictment of the four. A federal grand jury on Feb. 23, indicted Hirsch, who left the INS last December, on nine counts of accepting bribes and knowingly filing false documents. Hirsch, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, is due to stand trial on May 23.
U.S. District Court Judge John H. Pratt ordered the Javids released on bond pending sentencing.