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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kenyan Woman Sentenced to One Year For Marriage Fraud Conspiracy

Contact: Gail Fisk Malone
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel: (207) 945-0373

Bangor, Maine: United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced that
Margaret Kimani, 30, of Worcester, Massachusetts, was sentenced today to one year in prison
and three years of supervised release for conspiring to defraud the United States by seeking to
become a lawful permanent resident, or green card holder, by engaging in a marriage fraud
conspiracy. She was convicted after a jury trial in December 2013.

According to court documents, in 2001, Kimani, a Kenyan national, came to the United
States on a visitor’s visa. In 2003, after her visa expired, Kimani came to Maine and paid a U.S.
citizen from Maine to marry her. She and the Maine resident then filed documents with U.S.
immigration authorities to adjust her immigration status so she could stay permanently in the
country. After the U.S. citizen backed out of the scheme, Kimani filed a petition under the
Violence Against Women Act, which allows aliens who are subject to abuse to apply for
permanent residence without the knowledge or consent of their U.S. spouse. In support of that
petition, she filed false documents to make it appear that her U.S. citizen spouse had abused
her. Relying on her false claims, immigration authorities granted her petition and awarded her
lawful permanent resident status.

Other than cases against fugitives, Kimani’s sentencing brings to a close a major
marriage fraud conspiracy investigation that resulted in felony convictions against 28 defendants
in Maine since 2010. Launched in 2005 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigation identified more than 40 sham
marriages in the Lewiston/Auburn and Newport areas between U.S. citizens from Maine and
nationals of Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Cameroon. The Maine residents were paid to marry
the foreign nationals and assist them in seeking a green card.

In addition to Kimani, three other defendants -- Emmanuel Musiitwa, Grace Nyaga and
Jecinta Wambui Ngige -- all filed false claims of spousal abuse with U.S. immigration
authorities. These were the first prosecutions in the United States for fraudulently misusing the
immigration provisions of the Violence Against Women Act. Emmanuel Musiitwa was
sentenced to four months in January 2014. Grace Nyaga was sentenced to three months in
September 2013. Jecinta Wambui Ngige was sentenced to four months in January 2014.

Others who were convicted include ringleader Rashid Kakande, who was sentenced to 19
months in prison in April 2012; and Maine organizers Angela Roy, who was sentenced to 10
months in April 2011, and Torri Patterson, who was sentenced to six months in April
2011. James Mbugua, the other ringleader, fled after being charged in the case and released on
bail conditions, and remains a fugitive.

Also convicted were:

Name

Sentence

Month/Year of Sentence

Catherine Nantume

one year

December 2012

183 days

May 2012

Thomas Taylor

six months

July 2011

Henry Swan

four months

June 2011

Heather Dugas

three months

July 2011

Paula German

three months

April 2011

Thomas Patrick Hanson

three months

May 2011

Simon Kihugu

three months

July 2013

Albert White

three months

April 2011

June Roy White

three months

May 2011

Samuel Paradis

three months

October 2011

Susan Wambui Kimani

three months

December 2011

Lucy Kubai

two months

February 2012

James Muhoro

two months

March 2012

Jason Neas

two months

July 2012

Janet Wanjiru Thumi

two months

March 2013

Annie Njoroge

45 days

February 2013

Edward Kizito

one month

December 2011

Christine Njoroge

one month

October 2012

Beth Stewart

3 years probation

November 2012

Kelly Rider

1 year probation

June 2011

"America's legal immigration system is not for sale and we will move aggressively
against those who willfully compromise the integrity of that system simply to enrich
themselves," said Bruce Foucart, Special Agent in Charge for HSI in Boston. "Immigration
benefit fraud is a serious crime. Not only does it potentially rob deserving immigrants of benefits
they rightfully deserve, it also creates a security vulnerability that could be exploited by
criminals and others who pose a danger to our community. People who use ruses like this in an
attempt to obtain a green card should be forewarned, if you commit marriage fraud, there isn't
going to be a honeymoon."

The case was investigated by HSI and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in
Portland and Boston, with the assistance of the Lewiston Police Department.

Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
Joseph Kasirye
Updated January 26, 2015