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Criminal Law Keyed to Osler
United States v. Chahla
Citation:752 F.3d 939 (11th Cir. 2014)
In 1998 Mowafak was ordered to have a removal hearing because he was convicted of a crime and was not a citizen of the United States. He asked a frequent customer at his store, Victoria Knight to marry him to avoid immigration troubles. She agreed, they never lived together, and she dated somebody else for the length of the marriage. After their marriage, Victoria sponsored his citizenship and he paid her $200 a month for a year for lost wages due to immigration meetings. The judge granted his status to become a lawful permanent resident. Several months later Mowafak went back to Syria and married another lady named Mary, in 2005 they formally divorced and he was granted permanent citizenship in 2007.
In 2002 Antoun Chahla came to the US from Syria on a student visa. Mowafak asked Genetta Knight, Victoria’s sister, married him and then filed to change his status to become a Lawful Permanent Resident. They never lived together and Genetta met with officials twice to help get his permanent resident status, which he obtained in 2006.
In 2001 Brenda Pettit began dating Raymond Knight, Victoria and Genetta’s brother. She was asked to marry the third Chahla brother, Fadi. Brenda agreed to go to Syria, get engaged, and apply for the finance visa. She was paid $500 before the trip and $500 with Mowafak arranging the whole thing. The visa was denied. After the trip Brenda and Raymond got married, but Mowafak asked her to marry Fadi. Mowafak paid for Brenda’s divorce, and paid her $1000 to go back to Syria and $1000 upon her return. Fadi’s vias was approved and he entered the US in 2006. Brenda was paid $300 a month for assistance with additional immigration matters. In 2009 Fadi was naturalized and then divorced from Brenda. She then remarried Raymond.
Brenda began cooperating with federal officials in 2008, and recorded conversations with Mowafak and Fadi leading up to an immigration interview. The conversations show Mowafak directing her and Fadi as they prepared to like. Antoun also helped in one of the meetings.
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