Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested a man, his wife, and their daughter, under suspicion of visa fraud, sources have confirmed to a New York Family Lawyer.
ICE officials suspect the Yorba Linda, CA, family of arranging fraudulent marriages, filing fraudulent marriage petitions, and filing fraudulent work visa petitions.
The investigation that began in 2009 as a result of officers of the Fraud Detection and National Security Division of USCIS began noticing similarities between more than 20 visa petitions they traced back to the company the family ran. Many of the documents that were used contained the same marriage and divorce certificates, witnesses, and even the same spouses.
The family business reportedly catered to Indian nationals who would be billed for fees of $15,000 and up to $60,000. The fee was based on the type of visa they wanted. The highest fee was charged for a marriage visa. Marriages were allegedly arranged by the family business to unemployed or low-income U.S. citizens who would be paid up to $2,000 for their efforts in the scam. The couples would then have their pictures taken together, open joint bank accounts, and do whatever else was required so as to make the fraudulent marriages appear real. After a time, the couples would divorce and some of the U.S. citizens would repeat the process with another foreigner.
A spokesman for ICE told a New York Custody Lawyer that those who think they can use the U.S. immigration system for personal gain would learn that “there’s a high price to pay.” He went on to add, “Visa fraud is a serious crime. Not only does it undermine the integrity of our legal immigration process and penalize those who abide by the law, it also poses a significant [sic] security vulnerability.”
It is unknown at this time whether this is the family’s first run-in with the law, or if they have a history of criminal activity. If convicted on each of the charges, each of the family members faces up to five years in a federal prison.
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