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Press Release

KC Woman Sentenced for 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 was sentenced in federal court today for her role in a marriage fraud conspiracy.

Traci R. Porter, 44, of Kansas City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to two years in federal prison without parole.

On Jan. 19, 2017, Porter pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to assist African nationals in circumventing immigration laws by arranging fraudulent marriages. Co-defendants Delmar Dixon, 49, Kakeland Barnes, 37, Shakeisha Harrison, 37, Stephanie Harris, 22, and Tierra Ofield, 24, all of Kansas City, Mo., also have pleaded guilty to their roles in the marriage fraud conspiracy and await sentencing. In addition to the conspiracy, Dixon pleaded guilty to falsely swearing in an immigration matter.

Dixon, the leader of the conspiracy, 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.

Porter, who participated in the conspiracy for eight years, admitted that she was involved in the marriage fraud scheme through her own marriage and her involvement in other fraudulent marriages. In June 2008, Porter married a Kenyan national who had entered the United States as a B2 visitor. He was granted conditional lawful permanent resident status; Porter also filed petitions for an alien relative for her step-daughter and step-son. However, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi denied the children immigrant visas because Porter and her spouse failed to establish they had a bona fide ongoing marriage, and there was a suspicion (later confirmed) that he was not legally divorced from a prior marriage. To remedy this, Porter filed for divorce and her spouse divorced his wife in Kenya, then they remarried and he was granted permanent resident status.

Porter also advised others in the conspiracy, including an undercover federal agent whom she believed to be a foreign national.

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 May 1, 2017