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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 14, 2017

Cameroonian National Sentenced for Marriage Fraud Conspiracy

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Cameroonian national was sentenced today for her role in a marriage fraud conspiracy dubbed “Operation Evasive Immigration.”

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Carine Kojia Aleah Epse Mbendeke, 27, of New Carrollton, Maryland, conspired with Landry Mbendeke, who is currently serving time in federal prison for leading this marriage fraud conspiracy. The evidence presented at trial showed that beginning in December 2013, and continuing through August 2015, the Mbendekes operated a marriage fraud ring that recruited United States citizens to marry Cameroonian nationals for the promise of $5,000. Carine Mbendeke traveled with United States citizen co-conspirators to Cameroon on two occasions. While in Cameroon, Carine Mbendeke orchestrated their fraudulent marriages, acted as a translator, and collected immigration-related documents.

The Mbendekes recruited, or attempted to recruit, approximately 18 United States citizens. Seven of their co-conspirators previously pleaded guilty for their participation in the fraudulent scheme, including Marcus Carlye Brooks, Benjamin Franklin Minkins, Jr., Kenneth Cornelius Lewis, Alecia Angelita Portillo, Keonna Lakata Lynch, James Settles III, and Latrell Turner.

Carine Mbendeke was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Richard Ingram, Special Agent in Charge of Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of State’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carina A. Cuellar and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle R. Pascucci are prosecuting the case

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-cr-272.

Topic(s): 
Immigration
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated July 17, 2017