News and Press Releases

17 Indicted on Charges Surrounding Marriage and Naturalization Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2010

NORFOLK, Va. - A federal grand jury sitting in Norfolk, Virginia, has indicted 17  individuals for conspiracy, marriage fraud, false claims, theft of government property, false statements related to naturalization or citizenship, and naturalization fraud.  Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Washington, D.C.; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, made the announcement after the indictment was unsealed and the arrests were made.

“Today’s charges are a result of our ongoing effort to crack down on allegations of sham marriages in the Navy,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “To date, nearly 80 people have been charged with this scheme to pair Navy servicemen with Russian women in fake marriages. We’ll continue to pursue these cases to protect the integrity of our military and our immigration laws.”

“Fraudulent marriage schemes undermine the integrity of our immigration system,” said John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Washington, D.C. “These sham marriages create a vulnerability in which foreign nationals may gain entry to and remain in the United States for employment or more nefarious purposes.  We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that these schemes are thoroughly investigated and dismantled.”

"This is a serious crime that will result in serious consequences for all involved. This matter reinforces the need for strong communication and coordination between Federal Law Enforcement agencies and the military to ensure integrity and accountability within our enterprise. NCIS will continue to aggressively pursue individuals involved with fraudulent marriages as the crime reveals several concerns to include security and overall force protection," said Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the NCIS in Norfolk.

The individuals charged are:  Mikhail Loukoshkov, 28, of Dallas, Tex.; Anna Nagikh, 26, of Virginia Beach, Va.; Chase Rogers, 27, of Lebanon, Ore.; Jennifer Finney, 26, of Chico, Calif.;  Dmitry Dyugaev, 26, of Belmont, Mass.; Ryan Ranalli, 26, of Louisville, Ky.; Mitchell Steadman, 28, of Japan; Elena Soloveva, 27, of Salem, Mass.; Brandon Johnson, 29, of Houston, Tex.; Jacques Arzu, 27, of Los Angeles, Calif.; Julia Dronova, 27, of Williamsburg, Va.; Nathan Cisneros, 25, of Lorenzo, Tex.; Albina Satysheva, 27 of Owings Mills, Md.; Irina Nokhrina, 26, of West Hollywood, Calif.;  Vadim Lazarev, 25, of West Hollywood, Calif.; Sherri Ford, 32, of Park Hills, Ky.; and Elbek Arslanov, 34, of Brooklyn, NY.

According to the 28-count indictment, the defendants were involved in a broad conspiracy scheme which included recruiting United States Navy personnel to engage in fraudulent marriages with Russian foreign nationals.  The Navy personnel would file for additional pay from the Navy based on their fraudulent marriages and the foreign nationals would obtain an immigration benefit.   Some of the defendants made false statements to United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers.  This indictment also charges a number of defendants with arranging the fraudulent marriages.   

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Joseph DePadilla and Special Assistant Attorney Karen Somers are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.

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