Not Always Greener on the Other Side

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From the beginning of time, history shows that there have always been people who want what they don’t have. Whether world explorers were seeking a better trade route or riches from different locations around the globe or kingdoms wanted to expand through the acquisition of new territory, the desire for something more often eluded those who were seeking what they did not possess. An article posted on Law360.com tells a more modern tale of several foreigners who sought something they did not have – a green card guaranteeing the rights and privileges due to all U.S. citizens.

The story states that a marriage fraud scheme in Houston started with a female recruiter who paid willing people to marry foreigners. She persuaded one man to marry a Nigerian citizen in exchange for $2,500. (Less than a year after the marriage was dissolved by divorce, he married a second Nigerian citizen so that she could also obtain a green card.)

The story also states that the two Nigerian women paid the recruiter an undisclosed amount of money to arrange the wedding. (The recruiter lent her photography skills and captured the ceremony on camera in hopes that the blissful photographs would convince immigration officials the marriages were legitimate.)

The 27-year-old man who married the two Nigerian women agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud in exchange for a reduced sentence. (This was a good idea because he would have otherwise served up to five years in prison and incurred a fine of up to $250,000.) He is the last of six people to enter guilty pleas for their roles in a larger marriage fraud scheme.

In addition to the groom and the recruiter, two other people in the country temporarily on B1/B2 non-immigrant visas also pleaded guilty for marrying two more Nigerian citizens. The story mentions that as part of the plea agreements, the Nigerian citizens will have to return to Nigeria following the completion of their sentences. (Instead of ’til death do us part, it really turned out to be ’til deportation do us part.)

Fraudsters get overtaken by greed and tend to think if they could have just a little more, they would be more satisfied. (This case just goes to show that the grass – and the quest for citizenship – is not always greener on the other side.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Immigrant Marriage Fraud Scheme,” written by Matthew Bultman and published by Law360.com on June 9, 2015.

New York – A Texas man who married two Nigerian citizens so the women could get green cards agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge Monday, the last of six Houston-area people to enter pleas for their roles in a broader marriage fraud scheme.

Anthony Andrews, 27, admitted in court documents that both of his marriages were a sham and will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. In exchange, the U.S. attorney’s office agreed to recommend a reduced sentence for Andrews, who could otherwise serve up to five years in prison and get up to a $250,000 fine.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.