Overstaying Your Welcome

US flag and citizenship and immigration paperwork

Fraudsters tend to think that sham marriages are an easy path to gaining U.S. Citizenship. As evidenced by the actions of two immigrants from Trinidad and a pastor and Army sergeant from Colorado, that is not so. Participating in a sham marriage usually leads to an immigration fraud conviction.

The two immigrants from Trinidad turned out to be a married couple who came to the U.S. on visitor visas in 2007. They overstayed their visas and settled down in Colorado. (Overstaying a tourist visa can be quite serious if you stay longer than 180 days. If you depart the country after that time, offenders are barred from reentering for three years.)

Rajesh Ramcharan, 45, and Diann Ramcharan, 37, were married again in 2010 by Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, in Colorado Springs. It wasn’t long after the pastor signed the marriage certificate before the couple filed for divorce. Five days after the divorce was finalized, the pastor signed another new marriage certificate for Diann Ramcharan and Sgt. Galima Murry, 31, a U.S. citizen and Fort Carson soldier. (Apparently the purpose of the immigration fraud scheme was to enable Diann to stay in the U.S. and obtain immigration benefits for one of the couple’s minor children.) She also obtained military benefits while wed to the soldier.

In 2015, Rajesh Ramcharan married Angelica Guevara, a U.S. citizen. (Guess who also signed that marriage certificate?) While the couple was declared to be officially divorced on paper, they actually lived together and presented themselves as a married couple. (Remember that they were married prior to coming to the U.S.)

After a nine-day jury trial, the couple from Trinidad, the pastor who married and divorced them, and the Fort Carson soldier were convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an immigration fraud scheme. Guevara pleaded guilty earlier to conspiracy. A sentencing date has not been set.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Two Immigrants, Pastor, Army Sergeant Guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Fraud,” published by Military.com on January 20, 2020.

Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.

Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Colorado.


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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.