Three More Found Guilty In “Operation Knot So Fast”
Orlando, Florida - A federal jury found Abubakir Khidirov (26, New Orleans, LA) guilty of marriage fraud yesterday. He faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 14, 2013. Last week a separate federal jury found Rustamon Bahiriddinov (26, Charleston, SC) and Rachel Ruiz (36, Orlando) guilty of marriage fraud. Their sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 28, 2013. They each face a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison.
All three individuals were indicted on July 28, 2012, as part of "Operation Knot So Fast 2012." The operation targeted individuals who orchestrated fraudulent marriages in order to manipulate the United States' immigration system.
According to evidence presented at trial, Ender Rodriguez arranged the marriage of Khidirov, an alien unlawfully present in the United States, to Rosemary Torres Rosario, a United States citizen. The marriage was arranged so that Khidirov could fraudulently obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States. During the course of the conspiracy, Rodriguez introduced Torres Rosario to Khidirov. Khidirov then paid Rodriguez a fee of $3,500 for arranging the marriage. In addition, Torres Rosario was paid $5,000 for her participation in the scheme. Rodriguez used the fraudulently obtained marriage certificate to prepare and file fraudulent petitions with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, on behalf of Khidirov. Both Khidirov and Torres Rosario attended a marriage interview and lied under oath that they entered into a legitimate marriage, when, in fact, they had not. Torres Rosario (26, Kissimmee) pleaded guilty to marriage fraud on November 26, 2012. Her sentencing hearing is also scheduled for March 14, 2013.
Ender Rodriguez also arranged the marriage of Bahiriddinov, an alien unlawfully present in the United States, to Rachel Ruiz, a United States citizen. During the course of the conspiracy, Bethania Deschamps recruited Ruiz to marry an alien and introduced her to Ender Rodriguez. Deschamps, who worked with Rodriguez, received a recruiting fee once the alien and the citizen were fraudulently married. As part of the conspiracy, Bahiriddinov paid$3,500 to Rodriguez for arranging the marriage, and $5,000 to Ruiz for participating in the marriage. Ruiz then used the fraudulently obtained marriage certificate to prepare and file fraudulent petitions with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of Bahiriddinov. Both attended a marriage interview and lied under oath that they entered into a legitimate marriage.
Eleven other individuals have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and/or immigration benefit fraud (“marriage fraud”) as part of Operation Knot So Fast 2012. They are Bethania Deschamps (49, Bronx, NY), Jessica Santiago (35, Orlando), Idalia Gomez (54, Orlando), Brienn Marie Lasley (27, Orlando), Mariya Baran (26, Kansas City, MO), Eric Daniel Toro (25, Orlando), Recep Aksu (50, Daytona Beach), Grisel Ortiz (40, Orlando), Volkan Aksoy (34, Orlando), Gisela Cora (26, Orlando), and Ixchell Bonilla (28, Orlando). The maximum penalty for each violation is five years in federal prison. The sentencing hearing for these individuals is scheduled for February 14, 2013.
Ender Rodriguez was charged in 2008 during "Operation Knot So Fast." He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit immigration benefit fraud. On September 30, 2008, he was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Myrna Amelia Mesa.