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Psychologist, doctor charged with helping immigrants fraudulently obtain citizenship

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Posted at 2:21 PM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 18:27:02-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A Bloomfield Hills psychologist and a Pontiac doctor have been charged in a federal immigration fraud case.

Firoza VanHorn and Dr. Muhammed Awaisi are facing charges that include allegations of Visa Fraud, False Statements, and Unlawful Distribution of Controlled Substances.

Federal officials say they created false medical diagnoses to help immigrants fraudulently obtain their U.S. citizenship.

Prosecutors allege that the goal was to evade requirements that immigrants seeking to become naturalized U.S. citizens must first successfully demonstrate the ability to read, write and use the English language, and demonstrate a knowledge of United States history and government.

Those requirements can be waived for immigrants who can prove that they are not able to meet the requirements because of physical or mental disabilities.

Prosecutors say VanHorn and Awaisi helped immigrants fraudulently obtain waivers, and obtain U.S. citizenship by diagnosing them with medical conditions they did not have, documenting tests that were never performed, and prescribing medically unnecessary medication.

In one case, prosecutors allege a witness met with VanHorn, who asked the witness how the witness was feeling, along with other basic questions. The witness explained they had previously been in a car accident. Prosecutors says VanHorn wrote a report diagnosing the witness with Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by the witness being in a car accident, being held captive and assaulted by Sunni terrorists, being bombed, being jailed for a year by Saddam Hussein, being shot at a bus stop with friends, and the witness being the lone survivor.

Prosecutors say VanHorn received $500 each time she created the fake diagnosis and medical records. Records show VanHorn assisted 1,249 immigrants file requests for such waivers over the past four years alone.

Prosecutors also allege that Awaisi prescribed opioid painkillers to a patient, even though the patient was not in pain and did not tell Awaisi they were in pain.