Twenty-Seven South Florida Residents Charged in Marriage and Immigration Fraud Scheme
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, announce that Inaldo Chavez, 57, of Hialeah, Caridad Baez, 50, of Hialeah, Masiel Puron, 33, of Marathon, Elides Rodriguez Vallejo, 42, of Marathon, Claudio Catapano, 49, of Argentina, Naile Yubero Carrasco, 30, of Hialeah, Enrique Giglio, 32, of Venezuela, Duniesky Alvarez Perez, 26, of Homestead, Angela Cuellar Velandia, 29, of Colombia, Marcos Vila, 25, of Homestead, Olena Pokotiuk, 27, of Ukraine, Dayana Trigueiro, 21, of Homestead, Vladimir Popa, 28, of Moldova, Yinet Hernandez Martinez, 31, of Weston, Camilo Benavides Prieto, 30, of Colombia, Daylin Ramirez Pereira, 24, of Marathon, Igor Singereanu, 29, of Moldova, Jennifer Gutierrez, 22, of Marathon, Serghei Serdiuc, 27, of Moldova, Suset Nodarse Gonzalez, 23, of Coral Gables, Eldar Ben Atar, 28, of Israel, Kassandra Perdomo, 21, of Miami, Efrain Basaldella Landa, 24, of Venezuela, Elio Martinez Alan, 44, of Hialeah, Maria Pinto Camacho, 48, of Venezuela, Jenny Gonzalez, 24, of Miami, and Ido Sharir, 25, of Israel, have been charged by federal indictment with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and related immigration fraud charges.
According to the indictment, between May 2011 and February 2014, organizers, Chavez and Baez, and recruiters, including Puron, arranged for United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to enter into fraudulent marriages with aliens for the purpose of evading the immigration laws of the United States. Chavez, Baez, and Puron charged the aliens a fee to arrange the fraudulent marriages, notarized the fraudulent marriage licenses, completed the necessary immigration paperwork, and prepared the co-conspirators for their interviews with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The United States citizen and lawful permanent resident co-conspirators also charged the aliens a fee to enter into the fraudulent marriages. Aliens Catapano, Giglio, Velandia, Pokotiuk, Popa, Prieto, Singereanu, Serdiuc, Atar, Landa, Camacho, and Sharir, all paid a fee to enter into fraudulent marriages with United States citizens Gutierrez and Jenny Gonzalez, and lawful permanent residents Vallejo, Carrasco, Perez, Vila, Trigueiro, Martinez, Pereira, Suset Gonzalez, Perdomo, and Alan. These fraudulent marriages took place in the Southern District of Florida. In addition, during the time that they were arranging the fraudulent marriages, Chavez and Baez personally attempted to fraudulently obtain naturalization.
United States Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Marriage and immigration fraud is a serious crime that seeks to undermine the integrity and fairness of our immigration system. Our Office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate these crimes and prosecute those individuals who seek to perpetrate fraudulent immigration schemes.”
“Today’s arrests send a clear message that we will not tolerate individuals defrauding our immigration system for their own personal or financial gain,” said Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Miami.” HSI will continue to work to ensure that those who attempt to defraud the government will be prosecuted.”
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who provided significant and valuable support to this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa Snyder.
An indictment is only an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.