Immigrants seeking to become naturalized U.S. citizens must first successfully demonstrate that they have the ability to read, write, use the English language, and demonstrate a knowledge of United States history and government. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officer ask up to 10 questions from the list of 100 civics test questions which are provided ahead of time. 6 questions must be answered correctly to pass the civics test. But, understanding that not everyone is capable of taking tests, a doctor’s note claiming a mental or physical disability will get a waiver, exempting the applicant from the test. Don’t have a mental or physical disability? Well, Dr. Muhammed Awaisi’s was in his office and ready to help.
Awaisi helped immigrants fraudulently obtain citizenship application waivers, and hence fraudulently obtain U.S. citizenship, by diagnosing the immigrants with medical conditions they did not have. Starting in 2019, Awaisi conspired with a psychologist, Firoza Van Horn to create fraudulent medical documents designed to show that the applicants seeking citizenship did not have the ability to pass a citizenship test or demonstrate a knowledge of the English language. For $500, Van Horn and Awaisi would create scenarios of car bombings, terrorist attacks, or even torture by Saddam Hussein to fraudulently diagnose trauma as the reason for disabilities. For an extra $200 Dr. Awaisi would provide a prescription for opioids other controlled substances that were unnecessary to match the diagnosis. A fraudster bonus! Awaisi and Van Horn assisted 1,249 immigrants file requests for such waivers.
Great job by the FBI along with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with this case. On July 31, 2023, Awaisi was found guilty of medical documentation fraud to help immigrants and now awaits sentencing. Van Horn pleaded guilty prior and also awaits sentencing.
Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Pontiac doctor convicted in medical fraud scheme tied to citizenship” published by The Detroit News on July 31, 2023
A Pontiac doctor has been convicted of committing medical fraud to help immigrants obtain U.S. citizenship. Dr. Muhammad Awaisi, 64, was found guilty of five charges related to the fraud, said federal officials. A federal jury rendered the verdict last week after a four-day trial in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Awaisi, who is facing up to 35 years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 4. Neither he or his attorney, Steven Haney of Eastpointe, were immediately available for comment. Awaisi conspired with Firoza Van Horn, a psychologist from Bloomfield Hills, to create fraudulent medical documents, said prosecutors. Van Horn has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.