Love Triangle

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10313003 - image of a persons hand holding a passport

Today’s fraudster from Tamuning, Guam must have trusted his American friend implicitly. He convinced said “friend” to marry his girlfriend so she could receive a permanent resident card. (She was unlawfully present in the United States under the Guam Visa Waiver Program, which was intended to allow certain foreign nationals to be in the country, or in this case Guam, for only 45 days for the purposes of business and tourism.) Vows were exchanged in addition to cash, but the union didn’t last long before this bizarre love triangle was split up due to an immigration fraud scheme gone wrong.

Here’s a quick primer on permanent residence benefits: A lawful permanent resident is an individual who has been granted permission to live in the United States indefinitely. They carry a green card or photo ID card that proves their status. (For you artistic types, you might find it interesting to know that since the first green card was issued shortly after World War II, the card has also been beige, pink and blue.)

With the permanent residence card comes the right to work in America and request that your spouse and unmarried children join you and also obtain permanent residence. (Permanent residents remain a citizen of their home country, but when travelling outside of the U.S., they must carry their country of origin’s passport along with their green card to gain re-entry into the country.) Benefits that do not extend to permanent residents include the right to vote in any American elections. Also, if an individual with a green card leaves the country with the intention to reside elsewhere, the U.S. considers this an abandonment of residence and the green card must be forfeited.

Today’s fraudster obviously wanted his girlfriend to be with him, but unfortunately, he went about it the wrong way. (I’m guessing that he was not supposed to be in the country either, so he circumvented the immigration process by offering to pay his friend $20,000 or more to get hitched to his girlfriend.) The article states that the girlfriend did not live with her “legal spouse” after they got married in the Superior Court of Guam as reported to immigration officials. She actually lived with her boyfriend. (No surprise there. Also, it’s probably not a surprise that the fraudster did not pay his friend $20,000 as promised, only $8,500.)

As you might expect, the 52-year-old lovestruck man from Tamuning, Guam was not successful in carrying out his immigration fraud scheme. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. While he was not lucky in love, he was spared a prison sentence and will only have to serve 50 hours of community service and two years of probation. Although paying an $8,500 fine and $100 special assessment fee may reduce the amount of money he has to purchase his girlfriend flowers. (I bet Valentine’s Day was a bit awkward this year.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “No prison time for man convicted of marriage fraud,” published by Pacific Daily News on November 9, 2018.

A 52-year-old Tamuning man who agreed to marry another man’s girlfriend so she could get a green card and stay in the United States was sentenced this week to probation, which means he doesn’t have to spend any time in prison.

Markham Lynch pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. In addition to probation, Lynch was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and ordered to pay an $8,500 fine, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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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.