Marriage Fraud Ring Sentenced to Prison Terms

Marriage Fraud Ring Sentenced to Prison Terms

A marriage fraud ring operating out of Los Angeles has been handed prison sentences by U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper in Boston. The ringleader, Marcialito “Mars” Biol Benitez, 50, along with several co-conspirators from the “wedding agency,” were found guilty of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and immigration document fraud.

On March 7, Benitez was sentenced to a year and 10 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Juanita Pacson, 48, another conspirator, received a two-year supervised release. Earlier, Engilbert Ulan, 43, and Nino Valmeo, 47, were sentenced to 14 months in prison and three years of supervised release, respectively. Peterson Souza was sentenced to five months in prison, while Felipe David received three years of supervised release.

The investigation began in April 2022 when federal authorities indicted 11 alleged conspirators associated with Career Ad Management LLC. The agency, described by the authorities as fraudulent, recruited U.S. citizens, primarily homeless women, to enter into sham marriages with foreign nationals seeking green cards or permanent residency in the United States. The weddings were often arranged within a day of the couples meeting, and the residency seekers paid up to $30,000 for the arrangement.

The fraudulent agency, which had over 400 clients, generated a minimum revenue of approximately $8 million, according to the initial press conference. However, recent statements from the U.S. Attorney’s office indicate that the number of clients has now surpassed 600.

To support the sham marriages, the agency provided “wedding” photos taken in their own chapel, which resembled an office meeting room. Conspirators also coached the couples to pass immigration authority interviews, further perpetuating the fraud against the immigration process.

In cases where the citizen spouses had second thoughts, the fraudsters exploited a loophole in the Violence Against Women Act. They submitted fraudulent applications for temporary restraining orders against the backing-out spouses and then used the Violence Against Women provisions to apply for permanent residency without their involvement.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. I recently came across a similar case of marriage fraud that occurred in my hometown. A group of individuals, including both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, conspired to enter into fraudulent marriages in order to obtain immigration benefits.

    The scheme involved U.S. citizens marrying foreign nationals solely for the purpose of helping them gain legal status in the country. These marriages were not based on genuine relationships or love, but rather on financial gain and the desire to exploit the immigration system.

    The group operated discreetly,

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