Skip to comments.CA: Officials arrest 11 in sophisticated SoCal marriage fraud scheme
Posted on 11/30/2005 10:13:59 AM PST by NormsRevenge
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Federal authorities arrested 11 people in connection with a sophisticated marriage fraud scheme that targeted Asians seeking U.S. citizenship.
The arrests took place Tuesday in Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Bay Area, according to officials who described the operation as one of the biggest of its kind in the country.
Chinese and Vietnamese nationals were charged up to $60,000 to marry American citizens to obtain green cards, authorities said. Couples were provided with fake wedding photographs, joint tax returns and even love letters.
"Marriage fraud is not a new phenomenon but clearly this scheme was one of the most ambitious and creative we've ever encountered," said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE launched an investigation into the Orange County-based ring three years ago after authorities began to notice U.S. citizens who were seeking green cards for more than one spouse. Operation Newlywed Game resulted in 44 people - mostly Chinese- and Vietnamese-Americans - being indicted on charges including conspiracy, misuse of visas and marriage fraud. Not all have been arrested.
Recruiters for the ring allegedly received $1,000 for each U.S. citizen they found who was willing to marry a foreigner and submit a visa petition. The U.S. citizens allegedly received $3,000 to $5,000, plus travel expenses, to fly to Vietnam or China for arranged marriages and to apply for visas for their spouses, authorities said.
Wedding scams have been an ongoing problem in the Vietnamese community, said Lan Quoc Nguyen, an immigration attorney in Westminster.
Some of the defendants were released to house arrest and others held on bail ranging from $25,000 to $75,000 during a hearing Tuesday in federal court. Many of the suspects were already in custody in other cases and three remained at large.
Anyone who fraudulently got green cards could be deported, officials said. The investigation is continuing.
"I believe this is one small tip of a larger iceberg," said Frank Johnston, assistant special agent in charge.
In recent months, other phony marriage rings were broken up in Iowa, Florida and Chicago.
"....U.S. citizens who were seeking green cards for more than one spouse."
I suppose they thought that would be considered normal nowadays.
gee you think in Socal they would be trying to sting the Mexicanos???
They should just fly to Mexico and jump the border.
It might help if for the tax returns they had folks fill out a release and got em from the IRS. Most Homeland Security agents aren't trained to vet those.
Protect our borders and coastlines from all foreign invaders!
Support our Minutemen Patriots!
Be Ever Vigilant ~ Bump!
"Anyone who fraudulently got green cards could be deported, officials said."
COULD BE DEPORTED? What are they waiting for?
"If you think it's bad now, just wait till same-sex "marriage" becomes the law."
OMI GOD!! I'd never even thought of that angle! Scary!
I'm very curious about the $60,000 figure. Couldn't anyone who can legitimately front that much cash in Vietnam or China have no trouble getting themselves elsewhere legally?
Who is really paying, and why? What does the payee then use it for, and where? It can't all go to expenses and a bit under the mattress.
On the 22 freeway in Westminster, there is a sign that says "Little Saigon". It has been shot down and taken down several times, but it comes right back. Westminster IS little Saigon.
Being an illegal alien is one thing, but citizenship fraud is something else entirely - the former is akin to breaking into a house and living there, the latter is like fraudulently putting your name on the deed. Ideally we would be able to deport all complicit in this crime, including the US citizens who helped.
I would say $25,000 is more realistic number for what you would get for marrying an Asian in such a scheme. If you do it though you just may get visits from Asian gangs because that's who runs or are the partners of such scams.