Seven foreign nationals and four US citizens have been charged with running a massive marriage fraud agency in Los Angeles, Calif., that sought green cards from more than 400 illegal aliens, according to federal prosecutors.
Last week, the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts, announced charges against eleven people they believe ran an agency that paid US citizens to marry their illegal alien clients for the sole purpose of obtain a green card to stay permanently in the United States and ultimately apply for naturalized U.S. citizenship from October 2016 to March 2022.
According to the indictment, Marcialito Biol Benitez, a 48-year-old Filipino national, ran the agency by connecting illegal aliens wanting green cards with US citizens paid to marry their illegal alien clients. From there, Benitez would submit fraudulent immigration documents to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that substantiated the bogus marriages to obtain an undocumented alien green card.
The illegal alien clients paid Benitez between $20,000 and $30,000 in cash for the service, according to the indictment.
Benitez’s service included staging fake wedding ceremonies and training illegal aliens and U.S. citizens on what to say when they were vetted by USCIS officials about their marriage. In many cases, photos of the ceremonies were taken by the agency and submitted to USCIS as proof of the weddings.
In cases where U.S. citizens back out of the deals, Benitez and his staff would submit fraudulent allegations that the U.S. spouse abused the illegal alien client in an attempt to earn him green cards under the Violence Against Women Act. women (VAWA).
To do this, Benitez would obtain restraining orders against the U.S. spouse on behalf of the illegal alien client and submit the orders along with their green card applications to USCIS adjudicators.
The accused are:
- Marcialito Biol Benitez, 48-year-old Filipino national
- Engilbert Ulan, 39-year-old Filipino national
- Nino Reyes Valmeo, 45-year-old Filipino national
- Harold Poquita, 30-year-old Filipino national
- Juanita Pacson, 45-year-old Filipino national
- Felipe Capindo David, 49-year-old Filipino national
- 34-year-old Brazilian Peterson Souza
- Devon Hammer, 26
- Tamia Duckett, 25
- Karina Santos, 24 years old
- Casey Loya, 33
“The alleged exploitation of this system by these defendants for profit is an affront to our nation’s tradition of welcoming immigrants and prospective citizens,” U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement.
“Their alleged fraudulent behavior makes it harder for the vast majority of immigrants who follow the law and respect our immigration system,” Rollins said. “Beyond that, by allegedly submitting bogus claims alleging domestic abuse, these defendants have caused further harm, this time to actual victims and survivors of domestic abuse.”
Conspiracy to commit marriage fraud is punishable by up to five years in federal prison, three years of probation and a $250,000 fine.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.