Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed…or Embezzled?


Marrying a person so that they can remain in the United States is not only a federal crime, it’s also an extremely complicated scam to pull off. Someone attempting this probably wouldn’t want to test their chances, by committing, say, additional frauds. (No happy romantic ending to this tale.) For example, let’s consider the case of one New York woman who entered into a fraudulent marriage with a Gambian man and filed related immigration documents with federal officials, but then submitted numerous welfare applications that portrayed her to be a single mother.

A news release published by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of New York, details how the woman married the Gambian man in exchange for $10,000. The man had initially entered the U.S. legally, using a student visa, but remained in the country after the visa expired. He was living in the U.S. illegally when he married the woman, who herself was from Congo and later became a naturalized U.S. citizen. After they were married, she applied for government-sponsored welfare benefits for food stamps, Section 8 housing and day care—under the guise that she was an impoverished, single mother. (Guess what? Government agencies are getting better at sharing information!)

Apparently, the Gambian man was just as willing to test his own luck, as the press release details how he was also convicted for conspiring to commit almost $2 million in federal food stamp fraud. For that, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. (Bet he doesn’t get his $10,000 back either.) The woman was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 14 months in prison, followed by three years of probation, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Utica Woman To Serve Prison Term in Marriage Fraud Case,” a news release published by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of New York on April 29, 2016.

Zubeda Kalume, 42, of Utica was sentenced to serve 14 months imprisonment and a 3 year term of supervised release, and to pay a $100 special assessment, following her conviction entering into a fraudulent marriage, allowing a Gambian man to unlawfully remain in the United States.

While fraudulently holding herself out to federal immigration officials as married, she was representing to other agencies that she was a single mother in her applications for food stamp, Section 8 housing, and day care benefits.

Kalume and Alieu Jaiteh, 32, were married in Dewitt, New York in October 2009. Jaiteh, who had entered the country on a student visa, violated its terms and was in the United States illegally at the time of the marriage.

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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.