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March 17, 2009

MEN INDICTED IN MARRIAGE FRAUD CONSPIRACY

(HOUSTON) - Olanrewaju Adegoka Buraimoh, a citizen of Nigeria, and Ibraheem Adeneye, a naturalized U.S. citizen and Houston resident, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to commit marriage fraud, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. The indictment was returned today in Houston.

The prosecution of these two men began with the filing of a criminal complaint which alleged that agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began an investigation earlier this year into the possibility that an alien was attempting to arrange a fraudulent marriage with an American citizen in order to obtain a favorable change of immigration status from Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Adeneye, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Nigeria, was allegedly acting as a broker to arrange a fraudulent marriage between Buraimoh and an undercover ICE agent posing as a U.S. citizen willing to enter into the fraudulent marriage with Buraimoh. In January 2009, meetings were held with and phone calls were made by the agent with Adeneye and Buraimoh, during which the arrangement of the fraudulent marriage was allegedly discussed, including a total of $3500 to be paid in installments to the agent (“wife”) for her role in the conspiracy and to Adeneye for arranging the marriage. In addition, the process for obtaining a change in immigration status as a result of the “marriage” was also allegedly discussed. 

On Feb. 2, 2009, according to the complaint, after ICE took steps to notify the Harris County Clerk’s Office of the impending fraudulent marriage, the agent and Buraimoh were married in a state court in downtown Houston by a judge. Thereafter, Buraimoh allegedly made a partial payment to the agent for going through with the marriage. Adeneye received $250 of that payment for arranging the meeting of the agent and Buraimoh and was to be paid more as additional installments were made, according to allegations in the criminal complaint. Both men were arrested on Feb. 17, 2009.

If convicted of conspiring to commit marriage fraud, Adeneye and Buraimoh face a maximum of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.  Buraimoh has been ordered held in federal custody without bond pending trial of this case. Adeneye has been ordered released on bond.

The case was investigated by ICE and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston.

An indictment is not evidence of guilt and is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed to be innocent unless or until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

 

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