News and Press Releases

Defendant Sentenced Following Conviction On Charges Related To Marriage Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2013

United States Attorney Kenyen R. Brown announced today that Florence Chigozie Nna, a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States, was sentenced to six (6) months imprisonment following a jury verdict in which she and her co-defendant were found guilty of marriage fraud charges. During the course of the January trial, Nna testified that she was divorced from her Nigerian husband, Oluwagbenga Awoleye, at the time she married United States citizen Rodney Hill. Awoleye pled guilty in a separate marriage fraud case in November 2012. An investigation by the United States Consulate in Lagos, Nigeria, completed after Nna’s trial, revealed that the Nigerian court documents offered by Nna to prove her divorce from Awoleye were fake. Nna and Hill were married in Mobile County Probate Court on February 11, 2008, when Nna was approximately 8 months pregnant, with her third child by Awoleye. Trial testimony from a number of witnesses was that Nna, Hill and Awoleye all worked together at the Salvation Army at the time of Nna and Hill’s marriage. Further testimony demonstrated that a variety of false information was submitted to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services by Nna and Hill in their efforts to obtain Nna’s “green card”. Trial testimony also refuted Nna’s claim that she lived with Hill following their marriage, and in fact proved that Nna and Awoleye continued to live with Awoleye and their children.

In imposing the six month custody sentence, United States District Court Judge Callie V.S. Granade overruled Nna’s objection to her sentencing range being increased because of her obstruction of justice. The obstruction increase resulted fom a finding that Nna provided materially false testimony during her trial. Prior to the imposition of sentence, Nna addressed the Court still insisting that the marriage to Hill was not a sham, despite all evidence to the contrary.

This case was investigated by Special Agent Daniel Evans of Homeland Security Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vicki Davis and Michele O’Brien of the Southern District of Alabama.

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