Twenty-One Individuals Charged In "Operation Knot So Fast 2012"
Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the unsealing of multiple indictments charging twenty-one individuals with conspiracy and/or immigration benefit fraud (“marriage fraud”). The individuals charged include Bethania Deschamps (49, Bronx, NY), Fayzullohuja Mavlonov (32, Denver, CO), Jessica Santiago (35, Orlando), Marcelino Brizon (41, Orlando), Idalia Gomez (54, Orlando), Akmal S. Nosirov (32, Uzbekistan), Brienn Marie Lasley (27, Orlando), Mariya Baran (26, Kansas City, MO), Eric Daniel Toro (25, Orlando), Abubakir Khidirov (27, New Orleans, LA), Rosemary Torres Rosario (26, Kissimmee), Marlon Jimenez (43, Norcross, GA), Edna Isabel Cosme (41, Kissimmee), Recep Aksu (50, Daytona Beach), Grisel Ortiz (40, Orlando), Volkan Aksoy (34, Orlando), Gisela Cora (26, Orlando), Rustamhon Bahriddinov (26, Charleston, SC), Rachel Ruiz (36, Orlando), Avazhon Jafarkhojaev (31, Charleston, SC), and Ixchell Bonilla (28, Orlando). The maximum penalty for each violation is five years in federal prison.
According to court documents, during the course of the conspiracy, Deschamps recruited United States citizens to marry aliens so that the aliens could fraudulently obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States. Lawful permanent residence status is an immigration benefit allowing an alien to reside in the United States legally.
Deschamps worked with Ender Rodriguez, and received a recruiting fee once the alien and the citizen were fraudulently married. As part of the conspiracy, the aliens also paid fees to Rodriguez and the U.S. citizens for their assistance. Rodriguez used the fraudulently obtained marriage certificates to prepare and support fraudulent petitions to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of the alien.
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.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
Both iterations of "Operation Knot So Fast" targeted individuals who orchestrated fraudulent marriages in order to manipulate the United States' immigration system.
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 will be prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Myrna Amelia Mesa.