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Maspeth man charged after terror probe

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A Maspeth man questioned by investigators three days after the destruction of the World Trade Center has been charged with trying to evade immigration laws by entering into a false marriage, the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn said.

Rachid Rabhi, an immigrant from Morocco who currently lives in Maspeth, was detained as part of the FBI’s terror probe following the Sept. 11 attacks, the Daily News reported Oct. 25.

More than 1,000 people have been detained in connection with the terrorist assault, although the Justice Department has revealed few details about the suspects’ identities, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Rabhi is charged with fraudulently marrying an American citizen to obtain permanent resident status in this country, according to a complaint filed Oct. 3 in Manhattan federal court by INS Agent Karen Pace.

The complaint contends that Rabhi “is an alien and that he currently is in the United States illegally.”

President Bush announced Monday that the federal government would begin cracking down on foreigners like Rabhi who have overstayed their visas and remain in the United States illegally.

Rabhi entered the country in 1996 on an M-1 student visa with plans to attend flight school in Fort Worth, Texas, the complaint states.

But when questioned at his Maspeth home Sept. 14, Rabhi told FBI and INS agents that he never attended the school due to a lack of money, although he still considered attending other schools in New Jersey and Florida.

Rabhi also told agents that he married an American woman May 28 in Harrison, N.Y. to become a permanent resident of the United States. Rabhi paid an intermediary $3,000 to arrange the match with his wife, with whom he has never lived, he told investigators.

The Daily News reported Rabhi was ordered held without bail at an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Theodore Katz.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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