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United States of America permanent resident card, green card, displayed with a passport. Immigration concept.
Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

For those that found applying for United States citizenship to be a daunting task, using Regina Johnson’s and Andrea Torres wedding services seemed like a real viable solution. Unique wedding ceremonies and receptions, organized by a reliable planner can create a memory to last a lifetime. Johnson and Torres made that happen. And included the spouse at no extra cost. From September of 2016 to July of 2019, Johnson and Torres arranged fraudulent marriages for non-U.S. citizens who sought to remain in the United States without proper legal status or documentation. The sisters recruited and paid American citizens to participate in the fraud by posing as spouses.

Torres and Johnson organized and charged their clients for wedding ceremonies and after-parties staged to make the marriages all appear legitimate. Torres’s son, Philip participated in the scheme by officiating the fraudulent unions! The sisters advised their clients on ways to make their marriage appear legitimate on paper, including the opening of joint bank accounts. Proof of love is important in US Citizenship by marital union, so Johnson and Torres orchestrated frequent meetings for the applicants with their U.S. spouses. The sisters took photos in various locations and provided outfits to fake the appearance of cohabitation. Photos were not only placed in the rentals to simulate a cozy home for love birds, but were included in the fraudulent immigration application that Robinson and Torres filled out and filed. All the newlyweds had to do was to look in love.

But don’t expect true love from fraudsters, and no more wedding planning by Johnson and Torres. And no more fraud either. On August 9, 2023, Johnson and Torres pled guilty to marriage fraud and aiding in immigration fraud.

Great job by the Special agents of Homeland Security Investigations Newark.

Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Essex County Woman Pleads Guilty in Marriage Fraud Scheme to Harbor Non-U.S. Citizens” published by Mooristown Minute on August 9, 2023

Regina Johnson, a 59-year-old woman from Essex County, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit marriage fraud. The scheme involved arranging sham marriages between U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens to enable them to stay in the country illegally.

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced the guilty plea, which was entered before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court on August 8, 2023. Johnson was charged with one count of conspiracy to harbor non-U.S. citizens through fraudulent marriages, alongside others, including her sister Andrea Torres and Torres’ son, Philip Torres.

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