Nova Scotia

More charges laid in immigration fraud

The RCMP have laid charges against two more men in a citizenship and immigration fraud case in Bedford.

1st charges were laid in March 2011

The Canadian Commercial Group's office on the Bedford Highway in Halifax. (Google Streetview)

The RCMP have laid charges against two more men in a citizenship and immigration fraud case in Bedford.

Hani Dalqamouni, 39, and Nael Al-Mehdawi, 37, have been charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.  

Dalqamouni, a Canadian citizen who is believed to be residing in Jordan, is charged with three counts of counselling misrepresentation under the act.

Al-Mehdawi, who is also believed to be residing in Jordan, is a permanent resident status holder and has been charged with misrepresentation.

Arrest warrants have been issued for both men.

The RCMP alleges that Dalqamouni and Al-Mehdawi acted as points of contact and assisted Hassan Al-Awaid, who was counseling and assisting foreign nationals through fraudulent means to maintain permanent residence status and obtain Canadian citizenship.

Both men were also clients of Al-Awaid.

"They would do it by providing false residency documents to show that they're living in Canada when in fact, they were not," said Staff Sgt. Terry Quinn of the Atlantic Region Immigration and Passport Section.

"Along with that they would provide false telephone records, banking records, medical records — all to show that they were living in Canada when in fact, they were not. They were overseas."

In March 2011, the RCMP laid 53 charges against Al-Awaid, 57, of Bedford. Al-Awaid was the president of Canadian Commercial Group, a company that offered help to immigrants.

He faces 22 counts of counselling/misrepresentation, 22 counts of misrepresentation, and nine counts of false representation under the Citizenship Act.

The new charges are part of the ongoing investigation that was referred to the RCMP by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

"This is an excellent example of how the RCMP with the assistance from Citizenship and Immigration Canada were successful in identifying and charging individuals who were assisting applicants to use fraudulent means to obtain Canadian Citizenship," Quinn said in a release.

"The RCMP and Citizenship and Immigration Canada will continue working together to combat fraud and maintain the integrity of Canada’s immigration system."

The RCMP investigation into 1,100 files of fraudulent residency and Canadian citizenship began five years ago after the group that regulates immigration consultants stripped Al-Awaid of his license.