Shanon Stephenson, a Jamaican living in the United States, and Audrey Johnson, an American citizen, got married in the state of New York on March 1, 2012. Days later, Stephenson applied to the US Citizen and Immigration Service for permanent residence or a green card, while his doting wife submitted the required sponsorship application form, confirming that both lived together in wedded bliss in Brooklyn. At the end of 2012, Stephenson received a temporary two-year green card. But did they lived happily ever after? No.
Stephenson eventually received his permanent green card on November 19, 2015. But something in the applications had caught the attention of US immigration authorities. That something being that while the applications stated Brooklyn as the dwelling place for the couple, the envelope’s postmark identified the actual point of mailing as Bridgeport, Connecticut. Who was in Bridgeport, Connecticut? Jodian Stephenson, a Jamaican citizen and the owner of Stephenson Immigration and Legal Services, headquartered in Bridgeport. And as it turned out was also Shanon Stephenson’s legal wife.
Shanon had been married to Jodian since August 22, 2010 and renewed their vows in Jamaica in 2013. In between those marriages, Shanon “married” Johnson in 2012, and Jodian also “married” a U.S. citizen. Jodian not only arranged a wedding for herself and her husband, but she also arranged sham marriages for 28 other clients at about $20,000 per marriage. She offered a full array of services from creating relationship stories and happy couple pictures to filing all necessary paperwork for citizenship. Too bad she did not consider the small details like postmark addresses!
Kudos to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office who was able to bust this fraudulent marriage scheme. Ten individuals in total pled guilty because of this investigation. On November 9th, Johnson was sentenced to seven months in prison. Shanon and Jodian Stephenson have already each started their six-month prison terms.
Congratulations to the US Immigration Services. What seemed like slow work ended up being successful close of a fraudulent immigration marriage business.
Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on an article “She entered a sham marriage connected to a CT immigration business. Now she’s going to prison.” Published by the Hartford Courant on November 13, 2022
A New Jersey woman was sentenced to seven months in prison for an immigration marriage fraud offense, according to federal officials.
Audrey Bonet Johnson, 34, also was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to serve 45 days in a halfway house when she is released from prison and to two years of supervised release.