Fourteen desperate Nigerians have landed in serious trouble while attempting to secure permanent residency through an illegal marriage scheme in the United States.
The defendants, which also include three Cameroonians, are facing charges over conspiracy to make false statements in connection with immigration documents, commit mail fraud, commit marriage fraud, and to commit aggravated identity theft.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services stated that three of the suspects – Adebisi Philip Bode Adejumo, 34; Godspower Raphael Sobaeh, 31; and Olabode Ebenezer Olubodun, 37 – pleaded guilty to the charges on Monday.
Adejumo, United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced, pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements in connection with immigration documents, while Sobaeh pleaded guilty to one count of marriage fraud. Olubodun, on his part, to one count of making false statements in connection with immigration documents and mail fraud.
The indictment stated that the defendants were involved in the scheme from June 2013 to 2018. They had used F-1 student and B-2 visitor visas to enter the United States and while here, entered into fraudulent marriages to stay in the United States.
They were said to have recruited and paid United States citizens to enter into sham marriages in order to evade immigration laws and procure immigration benefits to which they were not entitled.
“The defendants filled out immigration forms and supplemental documents using false information, and they forged immigration forms and supplemental documents that they mailed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They also attended USCIS interviews where they made false statements under oath in an effort to evade immigration laws,”
the charges read.
Adejumo, Sobaeh, and Olubodun, who are residents in Grambling, La.; Fort Worth, Texas; and Houston, Texas, respectively, all pleaded guilty to the charges before U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty.
They were the first of 17 suspects, who were charged by a federal grand jury in May for being involved in the marriage fraud scheme, to admit guilt. Other defendants (Nigerians) who are scheduled to face trial on February 11, 2019, are named as: John Femi Egunjobi, 34; Talatu Helen Dada, 38; Oludayo Folarin Olayinka, 38; James Ojo Ayodele, 49; Precillia Asabe Dada, 53; Cecilia Joseph Akpan, 55; Tiimaro Smart Ekanem, 26; Abiola Esther Olaniyi, 26; Paul Allele Edeki, 40; Funmilade I. Oyetunji, 26; Olorunwa James Akinseloyin, 41.
The defendants, if found guilty, face up to five years in prison for the conspiracy count, 10 years in prison for the false statements count, 20 years in prison for the mail fraud count, five years in prison for the marriage fraud count and two years in prison for the identity theft count.
They also face restitution, forfeiture, three to five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for each count. The court has set sentencing for February 6, 2019.
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