Fourteen people have been arrested in Sacramento for taking part in a grand-scale fraud, namely that of arranging dozens of sham marriages with the objective of obtaining lawful permanent residency and ultimately citizenship for clients from Eastern Europe and Russia. According to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, this case of immigration fraud is the first in its kind in Sacramento. In addition, Wagner said the leader of the group of people behind the scam is a 55-year-old man of Russian decent who has been naturalized as a U.S. citizen. He and 13 others were charged with the crimes of arranging or participating in sham marriages where people from Russian and Eastern Europe paid as much as $10,000 to marry Americans for the purpose of obtaining green cards and citizenship.
Marrying a U.S. citizen is the most easily available option for many foreigners who wish to immigrate to this country, as U.S. citizens who marry non-citizens can petition the United States government on behalf of their foreign spouses. U.S. Attorney Wagner says that the group of people that were arrested in connection with the immigration scam has received large sums of money over several years, and that some of the charged were involved in several marriages. The ringleader has been investigated by agents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since 2006, after the Diplomatic Security Service of the U.S. Department of State passed on information of bogus visa petitions filed on behalf of Russians and Ukrainians. Court documents suggest that the ringleader has assisted at least 10 foreigners to enter in fake marriages to get into the United States. In a plight of desperation, when an undocumented immigrant is in a tight corner, feeling as if the walls are closing in, it is not all that uncommon for this becoming the preferred route to save oneself. While personal circumstances do not justify committing this high crime, it is that much worse when mob-like organizations make a business out of deliberately breaking and evading U.S. immigration law-for that reason we commend the work achieved by immigration officials and hope this deters others from engaging in such a fraud and victimizing undocumented immigrants.
It is important to seek the advice of a competent, experienced immigration attorney before presenting a case to U.S. immigration officials.