WASHINGTON, DC – After a lengthy evidentiary hearing this past week, U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady of the Eastern District of Virginia found that there was no evidence that Dr. Saeed Bajwa, a prominent Pakistan-born neurosurgeon from Binghamton, New York, had participated in a decades-long conspiracy to commit tax fraud. Dr. Bajwa had plead guilty to a false statement violation in November 2014, and the government had dismissed the count of the indictment charging him with the conspiracy.
Prosecutors sought a lengthy prison term for Dr. Bajwa based on the allegations that had formed the basis for the dismissed conspiracy charge. Dr. Bajwa pled guilty in November 2014 to a false statement for failing to disclose to the FBI in 2011 that he earmarked half of his $10,000 donation to a nonprofit — the Society for International Help — for a Pakistani women’s college overseen by his uncle.
At the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, Judge O’Grady found that the government had failed to present evidence to prove the conspiracy allegations.
“You got a little too close to the action here and raised the suspicions of the government, and with good reason,” said Judge O’Grady during the sentencing. “Your actions were not perfect, but they weren’t criminal … in my estimation.”
Judge O’Grady then sentenced Dr. Bajwa – over the government’s objection – to two years of probation and a $25,000 fine, while simultaneously praising the doctor’s character and good works.
“I thank God for people like you, you’re a treasure,” Judge O’Grady told Dr. Bajwa before a courtroom packed with his supporters. Judge O’Grady observed that the 150 letters submitted on Dr. Bajwa’s behalf – and the presence of dozens of supporters at the hearing – made “absolutely clear that the community believes that Dr. Bajwa is a treasure, and that his continued activities in the community are of vital importance, not just to the mosque or to the hospital, but in the community as a whole for what he has done.”
Reflecting on Ifrah Law’s nearly four-year long representation of him, firm founder Jeff Ifrah credited the hard work of the firm’s attorneys: “Dr. Bajwa has suffered from unjustified allegations for the last four years and I am proud that two of my top lawyers, David Deitch and Sarah Koch, helped him to receive a fair court decision,” Ifrah said. “Dr. Bajwa has assisted in the building of hospitals and schools in Pakistan through numerous donations and investments, which have made quality medical care and education available that previously were not available in that country. I am thrilled that we could do our part to help him clear his name and allow him to return the focus of his attention to helping the people of Pakistan and the Southern Tier of New York through his remarkable work.”
Dr. Bajwa’s case demonstrates the value of having an experienced and motivated lawyer – even for a defendant who has done no wrong. The key to disproving the conspiracy allegations was an intensive effort by the Ifrah Law attorneys – including two trips to Pakistan by David Deitch – in identifying relevant evidence in the discovery provided by the government, and collecting further evidence from a variety of institutions in Pakistan. And the key to obtaining a favorable sentence for Dr. Bajwa was demonstrating the wide-spread and deeply felt support of the community. Ifrah’s team submitted letters from more than 150 supporters of Dr. Bajwa, containing testimonials about his impeccable character and positive impact on his community, and also provided to the judge a short video testimonial. Judge, O’Grady specifically cited these materials, along with the presence of some 50 supporters in the courtroom, when he concluded that “It’s absolutely clear that the community believes that Dr. Bajwa is a treasure, and that his continued activities in the community are of vital importance.”
Jeff Ifrah looks back onto more than 20 years of experience in the fields of criminal defense and civil litigation, which he combines with a passion for understanding his clients and their businesses. Ifrah is an advocate who keenly focuses on delivering results based on innovative strategies to achieve the best possible outcome for his clients. Ifrah’s reputation precedes him and goes way beyond Washington, DC – Chambers USA has recognized Ifrah for five years in a row as one of America’s leading lawyers for litigation in the fields of White Collar Crime and Government Investigations and LexisNexis recognized him as an expert in healthcare and securities fraud, while Nightingale’s Healthcare News named him one of twelve outstanding fraud and compliance lawyers in the United States.
For more information, please visit www.ifrahlaw.com