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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Former Sarasota Woman Sentenced To Federal Prison For Fraudulently Obtaining Legal Status For Alien

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday today sentenced Margaret Mary Epps, a/k/a Margaret Monroy (39, Los Angeles, California), to seven months in federal prison for immigration fraud. She pleaded guilty on November 7, 2016.


According to court documents, in September 2013, Epps, who was already married, entered into a second marriage with a Mexican citizen. She then fraudulently petitioned for the alien to enter the United States as her husband, while she was still living with her real husband in Sarasota. Between October 2013 and June 2014, Epps made multiple false statements to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and created false and fraudulent documents in order to convince the USCIS to permit the alien to lawfully enter the United States. In documents filed with the USCIS, Epps falsely stated that she had no prior spouse, that she had no prior dependent children, and that she was employed at a Sarasota elementary school. In fact, Epps was married, had two minor children, and had never been employed at the school.


In connection with her petitions to USCIS, Epps submitted multiple false documents, including a fraudulent Form 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return and a W-2 form purporting to reflect more than $40,000 in income from the elementary school in 2013; a fraudulent earnings statements purporting to show income from the elementary school in 2014; a fraudulent notarized letter purporting to be from Epps’s mother affirming the marriage to the alien in which Epps had forged her mother’s signature and the notary seal; and a fraudulent birth certificate.


Based on Epps’s false representations, the alien was issued a lawful permanent resident card in January, 2015.


"This crime undermines our nation’s legitimate immigration system and creates a security vulnerability,” said Susan L. McCormick, special agent in charge of Tampa. “This criminal was looking for an illegal shortcut to obtain the benefits of U.S. citizenship. HSI special agents will continue to aggressively investigate this type of criminal activity.”


This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer L. Peresie.


Updated February 8, 2017