Out of Gas


It’s pretty important to check your vehicle’s gas gauge regularly make sure it doesn’t get too low, otherwise you could end up on the side of the road waiting for assistance. According to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) press release, a couple from India—who planned to stay in the United States—concocted a plan involving marriage fraud while working together at a gas station despite an expired six-month tourist visa. (Let’s just say that their fraudulent scheme ran out of gas, and the assistance they received was not exactly what they wanted.)

The press release states that a man and woman, who claimed to have married and divorced in India, flew to the United States along with their child and settled in New York. (An unusual divorce scenario.) After their tourist visas expired, the 36-year-old man married a 56-year-old woman, who happened to be a U.S. citizen. Approximately two years later, the man paid another U.S. citizen $2,000 to marry his 33-year-old former wife. (The scheme either took a lot of patience or it took a while to find someone willing to conspire with this couple.)

ICE Homeland Security Investigations caught on to their illegal scam and investigated the former couple along with one of the U.S. ”spouses.” The three were ultimately convicted by jury of marriage and immigration fraud. The couple from India each received a sentence of three years of probation and were ordered to pay a $2,000 fine. The phony wife also was sentenced to three years of probation. (No more free gas either, I’ll bet!)

Just as you must put gas in your car to get where you are going, you must follow a few rules to gain U.S. citizenship. Because these two citizens of India tried to circumvent the process of becoming citizens, they are now facing deportation back to their homeland. (While the couple may have been in love with the idea of remaining in the United States, it looks like their marriages of convenience have caused a permanent separation. Some things just aren’t meant to be.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on a press release entitled, ”3 sentenced in upstate New York marriage fraud scheme,” published by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on July 14, 2017.

ALBANY, N.Y. – Three defendants were sentenced in federal court this week for their role in a marriage fraud scam. The sentencings follow an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Gaurav Mehta, 36, and Isha Mehta, 33, both citizens of India, were sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, following jury convictions for marriage and immigration fraud. As citizens of India not lawfully present in the United States, the Mehtas also face removal from the country. Mary Opoka, 56, of Troy, New York, was sentenced Thursday to three years of probation for her role in the scheme.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.