Federal Officer Charged With Witness Tampering For Allegedly Hindering Investigation Of Sham Marriage
CHICAGO — A federal law enforcement officer was indicted on witness tampering charges for allegedly attempting to thwart an investigation of a sham marriage that she arranged a decade earlier. The defendant, ENKHCHIMEG ULZIIBAYAR EDWARDS, was charged with two counts of witness tampering in a federal grand jury indictment that was returned yesterday and announced today.
Edwards, also known as “Eni Edwards, 36, of Carpentersville, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at O’Hare International Airport, will be arraigned on a later date to be determined in U.S. District Court.
The charges resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service Chicago Field Office. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General assisted in the investigation.
According to the indictment, Edwards arranged for Individual A, a Mongolian citizen, to marry a friend of hers, Individual B, who was a U.S. citizen. Edwards arranged the marriage so Individual A could apply for and obtain U.S. citizenship through marrying Individual B. In July 2003, Individuals A and B were married in Las Vegas. Shortly after they were married, the couple applied for Individual A to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. After the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requested additional information, Individual B failed to provide the requested information and stopped pursuing U.S. citizenship for Individual A. After the naturalization petition was rejected, Individuals A and B divorced in May 2004.
By January 2013, federal law enforcement authorities were conducting an investigation of the role that Edwards played in the marriage of Individuals A and B. On Jan. 8, 2013, and again the following day, Edwards allegedly engaged in witness tampering by attempting to corruptly persuade Individual B, with intent to hinder, delay, and prevent Individual B from communicating information to law enforcement relating to a federal crime.
Each count of witness tampering carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The indictment was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Scott F. Collins, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service Chicago Field Office.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter S. Salib.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.