Tuesday, May 8, 2018

USCIS Plays Key Role in Miami Marriage Fraud Conviction

From USCIS News:

MIAMI – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers detected a multi-year fraudulent marriage scheme which resulted in the investigation and conviction of Michael Roy Fraser, a Jamaican national, on April 25, 2018.

Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Mark Selby, special agent in charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office; and Linda M. Swacina, USCIS Miami and Caribbean District director, made the announcement.  

Fraser was convicted at a trial on April 25, 2018, of procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1425(a) and misuse of evidence of citizenship or naturalization, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1423.

According to evidence presented at trial, in 2007, Fraser, a Jamaican national, paid a U.S. citizen between $8,000 and $10,000 to enter into a fraudulent marriage, so he could unlawfully obtain U.S. residency and qualify for citizenship. Based on the fraudulent marriage, Fraser acquired residency, and in 2013, he became a U.S. citizen. About two months after obtaining a U.S. passport, Fraser filed for divorce against his U.S. citizen spouse and soon after married the mother of his child, also a Jamaican national. Fraser then filed immigration paperwork to have his Jamaican-citizen spouse obtain U.S. legal permanent residency.

During a review of Fraser’s Jamaican spouse’s application for permanent residency, a USCIS officer detected various discrepancies that ultimately led to the discovery of the fraud. Specifically, the officer noticed that Fraser’s new Jamaican spouse claimed to have been living with Fraser during a time Fraser claimed to be married to his previous U.S. citizen spouse. Further, the officer discovered that Fraser and his Jamaican spouse had a child together, who was born a year before Fraser’s fraudulent marriage took place, and which Fraser failed to disclose throughout his own applications to become a permanent resident and U.S. citizen  

This matter was referred to USCIS Fraud Detection National Security (FDNS) immigration officers who worked closely with ICE agents to investigate the fraudulent scheme.  USCIS works with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to resolve potential fraud, national security and public safety concerns, and aggressively pursues benefit fraud cases in collaboration with federal law enforcement agencies.

“A conviction of this type sends a powerful message to anyone trying to take advantage of our immigration system, our communities and our country’s security,” said Swacina.  “Immigration fraud is a crime against all of us, and USCIS will continue to ensure the integrity of our immigration system and keep America safe from such perpetrators.”

Sentencing is scheduled for July 10, 2018, at 2 p.m., before U.S. District Court Judge Beth F. Bloom, in Miami.

Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and USCIS. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Turken and ICE Special Assistant United States Attorney Monica Atkins.

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