Three Persons Charged With Marriage Fraud
Las Vegas, Nev. – The Federal Grand Jury has indicted two women and a man for their involvement in a marriage fraud scheme which was intended to allow the man to evade immigration laws and unlawfully remain in the United States, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
MOUSTAPHA MOUSTAPHA, age 35, BEVERLEY MAY SENIOR, age 47, and GHADA ALY, age 32, residents of Las Vegas, were charged on Wednesday, May 17, 2006, with one count of Conspiracy (to commit marriage fraud and make false statements). MOUSTAPHA and SENIOR are also charged with one count of Marriage Fraud, one count of False Application, and two counts of False Statement and Representation. Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (U.S. ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested the defendants yesterday morning. The Indictment was sealed until this afternoon.
"Persons who make false statements in immigration forms and to U.S. Immigration authorities risk investigation and prosecution," said U.S. Attorney Bogden. "Although it is clear that many persons do so for economic or social reasons, rather than to commit violent acts, this sort of conduct violates federal law and will not be tolerated."
Visa fraud undermines the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system," said Tom Kalmes, Acting Resident Agent-in-Charge for ICE's Office of Investigations in Las Vegas. "These indictments should send a clear message that if you commit marriage fraud, there won't be a honeymoon. ICE is working aggressively to ensure that this kind of criminal activity does not go unchecked or unpunished."
According to the Indictment, on about August 3, 2001, MOUSTAPHA lawfully entered the United States from Egypt on a student visa. According to U.S. ICE records, ALY legally entered the United States on August 10, 2002, but neither MOUSTAPHA nor ALY is a citizen of the United States. MOUSTAPHA and ALY divorced in Clark County on about June 23, 2005. This caused ALY to become out-of-status and illegally in the United States.
On about July 20, 2005, MOUSTAPHA and ALY, asked or caused an unknown conspirator to ask SENIOR, a person believed by MOUSTAPHA and ALY to be a citizen of the United States, if she would marry MOUSTAPHA so that he could illegally remain in the United States. On about July 20, 2005, MOUSTAPHA and SENIOR entered into a sham marriage in Clark County, Nevada.
In September 2005, MOUSTAPHA and SENIOR each executed immigration forms stating that they had married, knowing that they did not intend to establish a life together as husband and wife, but that they had married for the purpose of enabling MOUSTAPHA to illegally remain in the United States.
In October 2005, MOUSTAPHA failed to maintain a full course of study, which was required for him to continue to legally remain in the United States under the student visa upon which he entered. This caused him to become out-of-status and illegally in the United States.
In October 2005, MOUSTAPHA, SENIOR, and ALY presented an immigration form to obtain a visa that would allow MOUSTAPHA to illegally remain in the United States.
In February 2006, MOUSTAPHA and SENIOR personally interviewed with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer in Las Vegas, and presented additional information and photographs in support of the immigration forms they had submitted.
All three defendants entered not guilty pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen this afternoon. SENIOR was released on a personal recognizance bond; MOUSTAPHA and ALY were detained pending trial based on a risk of flight.
If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the Conspiracy charge. MOUSTAPHA and SENIOR also face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the marriage fraud and false statement counts, and up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the False Application count.
This case is being investigated by U.S. ICE and the FBI, with the assistance of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly M. Frayn.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.