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Press Release

KC Woman Pleads Guilty to Marriage Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to her role in a marriage fraud conspiracy.

Kakeland Barnes, 37, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to the charges contained in an Aug. 31, 2016, federal indictment.

Barnes admitted that she participated in a conspiracy to assist African nationals in circumventing immigration laws by arranging fraudulent marriages. Co-defendants Delmar Dixon, 49, Shakeisha Harrison, 37, and Traci R. Porter, 44, all of Kansas City, also have pleaded guilty to their roles in the marriage fraud conspiracy. In addition to the conspiracy, Dixon pleaded guilty to falsely swearing in an immigration matter.

Dixon admitted that he arranged 30 to 40 fraudulent marriages, including his own. Dixon charged the African nationals $1,000 upfront for his services, which included providing them U.S. citizen spouses. The African nationals were additionally required to pay $500 to the spouse at the time of the wedding, and an additional $500 immediately after completion of the wedding. They were required to pay their spouses $250 each month after the weddings until the immigration process was complete. The African nationals were coached by Dixon on how to make their marriages appear legitimate.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents utilized an undercover agent in their investigation. The agent met with Dixon, who introduced the agent to Barnes, his intended spouse, on Jan. 23, 2016. Dixon advised the undercover agent that he and Barnes should rent an apartment in the Kansas City area and obtain life insurance policies together. The undercover agent also spoke alone with Barnes. Barnes told the agent she was involved with another man and had three children. She signified she understood the marriage would be a business transaction.

The agent made a payment to Dixon and kept in contact with Dixon regarding his marriage. On February 19, 2016, the undercover agent wired $250 to Barnes and $500 to Dixon. Both retrieved the payments later that day. Dixon also offered the undercover agent $300 for each new client he referred.

Under federal statutes, Barnes is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Moore. It was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Fraud Detection and National Security.

Updated April 10, 2017