Two Las Vegas Residents Plead Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Marriage Fraud
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Two Las Vegas residents pleaded guilty in federal court to assisting others to enter into a sham marriage for the purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship, announced U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Harris for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Las Vegas.
Jennifer Hamoy, 58, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, and co-defendant Antonio Ybanez, 76, pleaded guilty on May 8, to the same criminal charge. United States District Judge James C. Mahan accepted their individual guilty pleas. A sentencing hearing for Hamoy and Ybanez are scheduled on August 30, and August 8, 2018, respectively. The maximum statutory penalty is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the indictment and individual plea agreements, from December 10, 2013 to July 10, 2015, Hamoy and Ybanez conspired to assist others to enter into marriage for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws without intending to establish a life together as husband and wife. They arranged a sham marriage so that the non-citizen immigrant could obtain permanent resident status. The defendants instructed couples on how to make the marriage appear genuine by opening joint bank accounts, filing joint tax returns, obtaining driver’s licenses with the same address, and taking photos together.
In addition, Ybanez, who is not an attorney, introduced Hamoy as his paralegal who assisted him in filing fraudulent immigration paperwork with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which she did for a fee. They filed a visa petition and application that contained false and misleading statements to the USCIS for adjustment of citizenship status.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Jaroch is prosecuting the case.
If you suspect someone is committing marriage fraud, contact the HSI Tip Line at 1-866-347-2423 or at www.ice.gov/tips. For more information on marriage fraud, visit https://www.ice.gov/identity-benefit-fraud.