Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Five Individuals Charged in Connection with Marriage Fraud Scheme

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Peter C. Fitzhugh, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston, and Christopher W. Fonda, supervisory immigration officer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Fraud Detection and National Security, announced on Friday that five individuals have been charged with federal offenses related to their participation in fraudulent marriages so that non-U.S. citizens would receive U.S. immigration benefits.

On Nov. 19, 2018, a federal grand jury returned indictments charging Carl Jarrett, 35, of Bridgeport; Kenol Noel, 34, of Bridgeport; Ricky Owen, 39, of Bridgeport; and Marvin Williams, 59, of New York City, with submitting false immigration documents after entering multiple “marriages” with non-U.S. citizens and sponsoring those non-citizens’ applications for lawful permanent residence in the U.S., also known as “Green Card” status.

As alleged in the indictments, Jarrett, Noel, and Owen each entered into two “marriages,” and in documents submitted in support of the Green Card applications of their second “spouses,” failed to disclose their prior marriages, and failed to disclose their having also sponsored Green Card applications for their first “spouses.”  It is alleged that Williams entered a total of four such “marriages,” and sponsored the Green Card applications of all four “spouses.”

The grand jury also returned an indictment charging Dwight Henry, 44, a citizen of Jamaica residing in Queens, New York, with conspiracy to commit immigration/marriage fraud, and making false statements in an immigration document.  The indictment alleges that Henry conspired with Jodian Stephenson, of Bridgeport, and another individual, and entered into a sham marriage so that he could obtain Green Card status.

The five defendants were arrested this week.  Jarrett, Williams, and Henry are released under various bond conditions, and Noel and Owen are currently detained.

If convicted of the charges against them, Noel faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years; Jarrett, Owen, and Williams face a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years; and Henry faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.

In June 2018, Stephenson was charged by indictment with leading a conspiracy to arrange several fraudulent marriages between U.S. citizens and non-citizens.  Her case is pending.

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation is being conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, Office of Fraud Detection and National Security.  The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry K. Kopel.

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