Venezuelan National Convicted at Trial in Marriage Fraud Conspiracy
Yesterday, a Venezuelan national was convicted by a federal jury for participating in a marriage fraud conspiracy.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), made the announcement.
Elisabet Kerese Alvarez, 39, of Doral was convicted by a federal jury of conspiring to defraud the United States and marriage fraud. Kerese Alvarez faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison as to the conspiracy charge and a statutory maximum of five years in prison as to the marriage fraud conviction.
According to the court record, including evidence presented during the three-week trial, in April 2014, the defendant paid organizers Odalys Marrero and Rolando Mulet of Miami to recruit a Cuban citizen to enter into a fraudulent marriage with her for the purpose of evading the immigration laws of the United States.
The evidence at trial established that Kerese Alvarez paid thousands of dollars in cash for a fraudulent marriage, an agreement which anticipated the completion of an immigration application to be submitted to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order for Kerese Alvarez to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States.
Ten of the co-conspirators in the fourteen-defendant indictment previously pled guilty for their participation in the fraudulent scheme. Those defendants, included Venezuelan and Colombian nationals, Katiusca Aguilar Navarro, Manuel Andres Gomez, Natacha Perera, Marianelly Auxiliado Rodriguez, and Okyvi Yoll Mesa, who each paid tens of thousands of dollars to enter into fraudulent marriages with co-conspirator Cuban nationals, Carlos Alberto Mederos Paule, Virginia De la Caridad Mederos Paule, Osvaldo Lastre Duran, Rafael Abreu Gonzalez, and Salvador Cabanas. Organizers Marrero and Mulet along with Cuban national, Javier Manejias were all convicted by a jury on July 18, 2016 and are scheduled for sentencing on September 26, 2016. Kerese Alvarez is scheduled to be sentenced on November 14, 2016.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI. Mr. Ferrer also recognized USCIS for the significant and valuable support the agency provided the investigation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anne P. McNamara and Special Assistant United States Attorney Michele Vigilance.