Fifty people face 10 years in jail after a huge 206-count indictment charging dozens of people in an illegal marriage fraud scheme in Houston, Texas.
The scheme involved primarily Vietnam citizens and even included fake wedding pictures to show the couples had married in a ceremony at a place other than a courthouse.
Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson, HSI Houston: “These arrests mark the culmination of a comprehensive yearlong multi-agency investigation into one of the largest alleged marriage fraud conspiracies ever documented in the Houston area. By working together with our partners from various federal law enforcement agencies, we have sent a resounding message that we are united in our effort to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations that seek to circumvent U.S. law by fraudulent means.”
The massive marriage fraud scam focused on obtaining immigrant status in the United States via sham marriages:
According to ICE.gov, each beneficiary spouse entered into an agreement with Duyen in which they paid about $50,000 to $70,000 to obtain full U.S. permanent resident status. The agreements were allegedly prorated in that they would pay an additional amount for each immigration benefit they received, such as admission into the United States, conditional U.S. permanent resident status and full U.S. permanent resident status.
The cases involved Vietnamese citizens and one of the ringleaders was Attorney Trang Le Nguyen, aka Nguyen Le Thien Trang, 45, of Pearland, Texas, who was indicted for obstructing and impeding the due administration of justice and tampering with a witness, victim or informant.
There is a laundry list of charges: 47 counts of marriage fraud, 50 counts of mail fraud; 51 counts of immigration fraud; 51 counts of false statements under oath in a matter relating to registry of aliens; and one count each of conspiracy to engage in marriage fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to commit immigration fraud, conspiracy to make false statements under oath in a matter relating to registry of aliens, unlawful procurement of naturalization, obstructing and impeding the due administration of justice, and tampering with a witness, victim or informant.