Detroit – A West Bloomfield Township psychiatrist who helped immigrants bypass steps in the naturalization process by signing false statements showing they had mental deficiencies was sentenced to 10 months in prison in federal court today.
The Detroit News (Michigan)
West Bloomfield psychiatrist sentenced to prison for immigration fraud
By Paul Egan
August 19, 2009
Chilakamarri Ramesh, 55, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud.
U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr. also fined Ramesh $30,000 and ordered him to serve two years of probation after he is released from prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Leonid Feller said Ramesh signed hundreds of blank statements that were used to certify immigrants had mental conditions that prevented them from learning English or passing a U.S. civics test, two requirements normally required to achieve citizenship.
“This was a document mill,” Feller told the judge. “This was a fraud from inception to conclusion.”
Cook reviewed about 100 letters from family members, friends, colleagues and patients attesting to the high character and humanitarian work of Ramesh.
But he rejected Troy attorney Thomas Cranmer’s request for a probationary sentence, saying a prison term was imperative to deter others from similar conduct.
Ramesh, who was indicted in 2002, told the judge he interviewed each patient, took notes and gave a genuine diagnosis. His only mistake, he said, was signing blank documents that were supposed to be filled in accurately by a psychologist co-defendant.
“This is a gross misunderstanding,” he said.
Feller said there is no evidence terrorists were able to obtain U.S. citizenship as a result of Ramesh’s conduct, but said such a risk existed.
“What is more fundamental to a country’s national security than its immigration process?” Feller asked.
“I believe this was about greed.”
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