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A federal grand jury indicted 96 people allegedly involved in a fraud scheme whereby Vietnamese nationals paid up to $70,000 each to a Houston-based woman so that she would arrange fake marriages with Americans in order to obtain green cards.
According to the 206-count indictment, a Houston woman, 53-year-old Ashley Yen Nguyen, ran the scheme out of a home in the southwest part of the city.
Agents - Home - Wedding - Photo - Albums
Federal agents raided the home recently, where they confiscated fake wedding photo albums that were used to make marriages look real, KHOU-TV reported.
Half of those indicted are Vietnamese nationals who were undocumented before their alleged sham marriages.
Half - US - Citizens
The other half are U.S. citizens who were recruited to marry them.
Federal authorities allege that the couples involved in the scheme never intended to live together.
Defendants - Custody - Monday - KHOU-TV
Fifty defendants were in federal custody as of Monday, according to KHOU-TV.
The alleged scheme had Vietnamese nationals seeking U.S. green cards pay Nguyen between $30,000 and $70,000.
Nguyen - Turn - US - Citizens - Portion
Nguyen, in turn, would recruit U.S. citizens and paid them a portion of that money in exchange for their agreeing to act as petitioner in the sham marriages, federal authorities say.
The indictments allege that the petitioners would often act as recruiters themselves by offering others money in exchange for marrying a Vietnamese national.
Agreements - Nguyen - Spouses
The agreements between Nguyen and the recruited spouses were prorated, according to the...
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