May 17, 2019 | From KHOU News
Dozens of people have been arrested in a scheme that involved the creation of sham marriages to obtain a legal immigration status, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
“I don’t have any details,” said defense attorney Robert Pham after representing one defendant during an arraignment. “I can’t say anything at this time.”
The feds detailed their case in a 206-page indictment involving the alleged creation of sham marriages in order to obtain legal immigration status.
“The accusation, basically, is paying somebody to arrange a fraudulent marriage,” said attorney Tom Henderson, who represented another defendant. “That’s the allegation.”
Federal prosecutors allege 53-year-old Ashley Nguyen ran the operation out of a southwest Houston home which was the target of a recent raid.
Among the items agents said they found inside were fake wedding photo albums used to make marriages appear legitimate.
There are 96 defendants so far. About half were undocumented Vietnamese immigrants before marriages. The other half were U.S. citizens recruited to marry them. As of Monday morning, a total of 50 people are in custody following the return of a 206-count indictment.
They allegedly got paid between $30,000 and $70,000. The feds said documents were filled out and forged, in many cases, in an office building not far from Nguyen’s house…. (Excerpted from KHOU-11 Houston News, article by Doug Delony)