News and Press Releases

Fourth of Some Thirty Defendants Charged with Accepting Trips and Cash to Engage in Sham Marriages

January 5, 2007

CHAD FELDMAN, 30, of Vancouver, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to three years of probation for Conspiracy to Commit Visa Fraud. U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton imposed the sentence, saying especially after 9-11, we could not have a cavalier attitude toward immigration laws. FELDMAN is one of some thirty people identified by law enforcement as having accepted trips and cash to travel to Vietnam to pose as fiancés as part of a Visa fraud conspiracy. FELDMAN not only posed as a fiancé, he carried through with the scheme, entering into a sham marriage in Tacoma and assisting his “wife” with applying for a green card. FELDMAN traveled to Vietnam three times as part of the scheme. As a result of FELDMAN’S conviction, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will move to revoke the green card of FELDMAN’S sham wife from Vietnam.

Like many in the conspiracy, FELDMAN was recruited by a co-worker of his girlfriend’s at the New Phoenix Casino in Vancouver, Washington. The investigation was dubbed “Operation Pit Boss” because many of the conspirators were recruited at casinos, resulting in indictments against six of the conspiracy ring leaders in early 2005. Law enforcement has identified over 130 fraudulent fiancé visa applications connected to the scheme.

The principal ringleaders of the visa fraud scheme, brothers LOC HUU NGUYEN, 40 and PHUOC NGUYEN, 43, both of Vancouver, Washington were each sentenced to three years in prison and three years of supervised release in June 2006.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service with assistance from the Washington State Gambling Commission. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Thomas and Douglas B. Whalley.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorneys Office at (206) 553-4110.

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