- United States
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has issued arrest warrants of an immigration consultant and an employee for alleged involvement in counselling misrepresentation to commit residency fraud to obtain Canadian citizenship. One employee is already under arrest.
The immigration consultant Ziad El Shurafa and his employee Mohammed Elhajabed each face eight counts of counselling misrepresentation whereas Awni Sakalla faces two counts of the same charge. El Shurafa and Elhajabed are believed to be out of the country.
Andrew LeFrank, CBSA’s Director for the Atlantic region said, “Immigration fraud is a criminal offense in Canada and damages the integrity of our immigration system.”
“The CBSA takes this issue very seriously and works closely with its partners to identify, investigate and prosecute those engaging in immigration fraud to the full extent of the law,” he added.
CBSA’s Atlantic Region Manager of Criminal Investigations Albert Price said, “It’s a national priority for Canada Border Services Agency. Those migrants found to have obtained their status in Canada through fraud may ultimately lose their residency and citizenship.”
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jasson Kenny also commended the CBSA for successful investigation of the immigration fraud.
The Minister Kenney said in a statement, “I commend the CBSA for its great work in this major investigation. Canadian citizenship is not for sale. I encourage anyone who has information regarding citizenship fraud to report it.”
The Minister further added, “Unscrupulous consultants bring misery to their victims, so all levels of government and law enforcement must continue to work diligently to ensure that those who commit fraud are caught and punished. Our Government introduced and passed Bill C-35, which cracks down on crooked consultants and increases the penalties and fines.”
The alleged individuals are facing charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act with counselling and assisting foreign nationals, through fraudulent means, in maintaining their Canadian permanent resident status or applying for Canadian citizenship. If convicted, they can be fined for up to $100,000 and five years imprisonment.
Tags: Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA, Citizenship and Immigraiton Canada, Fraudulent Consultant, Immigration, Immigration Canada, immigration fraud, Jasson Kenney, Misrepresentation