A University Park marriage fraud lawyer could help defend you if you have been accused of entering or facilitating a fraudulent marriage. Marriage fraud is a federal crime that can result in severe penalties. If you have been charged with this offense, you deserve aggressive legal representation now.
Why The Department Of Justice Is Taking Action Against Marriage Fraud
Marriage fraud schemes typically attempt to illegally procure United States citizenship for people from other countries. There are legal ways to obtain U.S. citizenship, but those can take many years and involve multiple steps of bureaucracy, and some people try to skip those steps.
When people circumvent the legal path to citizenship, they can take advantage of the many benefits that U.S. citizens enjoy at the taxpayers’ expense. Also, they avoid the extensive background investigations designed to protect Americans from people who intend harm.
The Department Of Justice’s Focus On Marriage Fraud Immigration Scams
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, a woman was convicted in November 2020 of running an illegal immigration network in Houston. She arranged more than 40 fake marriages between foreigners and American citizens. The immigrants paid up to $70,000 each in exchange for an arranged marriage that would earn them permanent resident status in the U.S.
The defendant faces up to $250,000 in fines and 20 years in prison for multiple charges of marriage fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and making false statements in tax returns. This is just one example of how the government is cracking down on marriage fraud.
How Marriage Fraud Schemes Work
An individual may get duped into participating in a marriage fraud scheme because they are financially vulnerable. College students may be a target of people running these illegal immigration networks. The American is told that all they have to do is sign a fake marriage license and show up for an interview in exchange for a cash payment.
The U.S. citizen does not live with the foreign individual they marry. In fact, sometimes, they never even meet. The American may get handed a “script” with details about their fake spouse to prepare for the interview with immigration officials. Mistakenly thinking that their actions are harmless, the American may be arrested and prosecuted for the federal crime of marriage fraud.
Additional People Who Can Get Charged With Marriage Fraud
Some people get involved with marriage fraud scams because they are desperate. They did not think that the legal path to U.S. citizenship would take so long. They will have to leave the country if they do not find a solution quickly. They find out about a network offering sham marriages in exchange for money. The foreign individual might become a victim of human trafficking for years to pay off the debt.
In another scenario, a well-intentioned person might offer to help someone about to get deported. Not realizing it is a federal crime, the American merely wants to help someone stay in the country. They go to someone who provides documents and says nothing is wrong because they are not actually married. However, either party could get arrested, as well as the middle person.
Federal Marriage Fraud Statutes
Federal officials prosecute defendants for marriage fraud under 8 U.S.C. 1325(C),18 U.S.C. 1546, and other statutes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Under these statutes, even if the two people go through all the state requirements for an otherwise valid marriage, like a marriage license and an official ceremony, it is still marriage fraud if:
- The American citizen gets paid to marry someone from another country.
- The purpose of the marriage is for the alien to obtain the status of a permanent resident of the United States.
- The two people do not intend to live together as spouses.
The parties can still face prosecution for marriage fraud even if their marriage was valid under state law. Even if they felt they answered questions honestly when immigration officials asked if they were legally married, participating in a marriage under these circumstances can violate federal law.
A University Park Marriage Fraud Lawyer Can Defend You Against Marriage Fraud Accusations
A marriage fraud conviction comes with hefty penalties of up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. If you are facing marriage fraud charges but believe they are inaccurate or unjustified, we can defend you and your rights.
For example, perhaps your marriage is legitimate. A University Park marriage fraud attorney from our team can help you gather evidence to prove that you live with your spouse, you did not receive money for marrying them, and your marriage is more than transactional.
Or perhaps you were unaware of what you were getting into with a fake marriage and the potential consequences. In this case, your University Park marriage fraud lawyer can fight to have the charges dropped or reduced.
Check Out Our Law Firm’s Five-Star Google Reviews
When we talk about how hard our University Park marriage fraud lawyers fight for our clients, you don’t have to take our word for it. You can read the glowing testimonials our clients post on Google, like these:
“Thank you to Randall Isenberg and his staff for helping my son with a legal issue. From the moment we met with Mr. Isenberg, we knew we had chosen the right lawyer. He answered all our questions and calmed our nerves. He negotiated with the prosecutor to achieve the best possible result for my child. Going to the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg was definitely the right choice.” -Carol J.
“Randy is the real deal. On a bogus case, my previous attorney told me I didn’t have any option other than accepting whatever the court offered me. That seemed ridiculous to me on a case that had no merit, so I contacted Randy. He and his team had the case dismissed almost immediately. He’s a true professional and an asset to the legal community. The system has gone crazy, and Randy can help you. Give him a call.” -Brandon S.
“The law team here is really friendly. They do a real good job with your case. Everything is really easy [and] can be handled via email or over the phone. When [you do] have to come in for a visit, the staff are all nice and answer any questions you have. I am very happy that [I] chose this office to handle my recent court cases.” -Steven G.
“Straight talk. Real go-getter. Master negotiator. Mr. Isenberg and his Associates handled my difficult case with the utmost professionalism in a more than reasonable amount of time. Can’t say enough about Randy and his team. Thank you all so much.” –John B.
Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation
If you want to work with a University Park marriage fraud lawyer who will go to bat for you, look no further. Reach out to the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today to get started.