A Hurst marriage fraud lawyer from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg could help you get the best possible outcome if you were charged with marriage fraud. With legal immigration becoming more complicated, some people are considering marriage schemes to avoid the lengthy process. But unfortunately, federal authorities are coming down hard on these cases, including in towns like Hurst, Texas.
If you get convicted of marriage fraud, you could face charges of up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. You do not want to try to beat these charges on your own. There is too much to lose. Instead, you will want to work with an aggressive attorney who can build a strong defense for you.
What Marriage Fraud Means
When a United States citizen enters into a sham marriage for the purpose of the other party getting American citizenship, that act can be the crime of marriage fraud. This is because the “spouses” sign a fake marriage license, attend an interview with immigration officials, and then go their way, never living together or interacting again.
What might seem like a harmless action with no victims can be a federal crime. The parties might not be married, but sometimes, the supposedly fake marriage is real, which can cause significant difficulties if one of them ever wants to marry another. Also, when the person immigrating to the United States achieves legal status, they can be eligible for valuable government benefits, paid for by taxpayers here legally.
Statutes That Apply To Marriage Fraud Cases
The Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutes people for marriage fraud using 18 U.S.C. § 1546, 8 U.S.C. § 1325, and other federal laws. Under these laws, even a marriage that complies with all the state requirements for a valid marriage can be marriage fraud under these circumstances:
- An American citizen and a person from another country marry for the purpose of the alien gaining permanent resident status in the United States.
- The American receives payment for taking part in the marriage.
- Although there might have been an official ceremony and a marriage license, the two “spouses” have no intention of living with each other after the ceremony.
If the fact pattern meets these three requirements, the two spouses and the other people involved in the marriage scheme can face federal prosecution for the crime of marriage fraud.
For a free legal consultation with a Marriage Fraud Lawyer in Hurst, call (214) 696-9253
Increasing Marriage Fraud Investigations And Prosecutions By The DOJ
The Department of Justice is going after people who set up fraudulent marriages to circumvent our country’s immigration laws. In addition to marriage fraud, the feds are tacking on charges of making false statements in tax returns and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
In many of these cases, they will go after the ringleader who sets up the sham marriages, charging the non-Americans exorbitant fees, like $70,000 per person. The Americans recruited as bogus spouses often get paid a few hundred dollars for their participation.
Hurst Marriage Fraud Lawyer Near Me (214) 696-9253
Potential Additional Risks In Marriage Fraud Cases
Not everyone who wants to enter this country on the fast track has $70,000 to pay to a “marriage broker.” In this situation, some people end up working for years to pay off their debt for the fake marriage. While some people get treated fairly and can walk right into jobs where they can work to pay down the debt, some other people are not so fortunate.
Some human traffickers participate in marriage fraud schemes to get cheap labor from people who need to pay their broker fees. Going after human traffickers is one thing, but the concern is that the federal authorities will try to paint everyone with the same brush and add criminal charges of human trafficking to these cases. The fallout from those charges could be monumental.
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How Americans Get Pulled Into Fraudulent Marriage Schemes
Some people get trapped in marriage fraud schemes as American citizens because they are financially desperate. They might be away from home and go to college with minimal financial resources. They could be trying to escape from an abusive situation at home. They might be between jobs and at risk of homelessness.
Also, playing the part of the American, we sometimes find people with the best intentions who want to help a friend avoid getting deported. But unfortunately, the marriage brokers might tell them lies, like what they are doing is not illegal, and it will not cause them any problems in the future.
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Reasons Why People From Other Countries Participate In Marriage Fraud
Many people underestimate the time, money, and inconvenience of going on a legal path to citizenship in this country. They might not have done their homework before coming here or relied on bad information. When they reach the point at which their legal time here has expired, they might be tempted to grasp at straws.
Other people might come here with no intention of complying with the rigorous immigration process. Instead, they prefer to buy their way in with a shortcut. They might be used to a system of bribery in their home country and not realize that the same actions can land you in jail here. And then there are people who wish to commit acts against people in our country and will use illegal means to do so.
The people who set up these marriage fraud networks might be motivated entirely by money, or they could be wanting to “save” people from dangerous conditions in other countries. However, the only motivation the federal authorities are interested in are the participants in a marriage fraud scheme of getting married for money to become a citizen.
Contact A Hurst Marriage Fraud Attorney To Get Started On Your Defense Today
A Hurst marriage fraud lawyer from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg wants to help you if you get charged with marriage fraud as an American citizen, the head of the marriage fraud network, or a person from another country. Mr. Eisenberg has more than 30 years of experience with a career as a former prosecutor and state district judge, as well as a criminal defense attorney.