Jamaican woman pleads guilty in US to arranging fake marriages for green cards
A Jamaican woman living in Bridgeport, Connecticut faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to arranging dozens of sham marriages in order for non-citizens to receive immigration benefits.
Thirty-five-year-old Jodian Stephenson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit immigration marriage fraud in federal court in New Haven.
In pleading guilty, Stephenson’s possible removal and other immigration consequences will be the subject of a separate proceeding.
U.S. Attorney John H. Durham says Stephenson helped arrange 28 sham marriages between U.S. citizens and non-citizens residing in America for the purpose of the non-citizens’ applying for and obtaining green cards.
One of the 28 sham marriages was between Stephenson and a U.S. citizen.
“For each of the other 27 fraudulent marriages, Stephenson found and introduced a U.S. citizen to be the non-citizen’s purported spouse and helped the couple obtain a marriage license,” Durham said.
“She also organised the marriage ceremony and celebration, and coached the couple on how to make their marriage appear to be genuine despite their neither living together nor otherwise intending to remain actually married.”
She also helped fill out immigration documents.
Durham said Stephenson typically charged between $17,000 and $20,000 to complete this process.
As part of the investigation, Durham said Stephenson offered to arrange a sham marriage to an undercover law enforcement agent and introduced the agent to a U.S. citizen.
Stephenson has been released on a $250,000 bond since her arrest last June.
She is the seventh defendant charged in the scheme to plead guilty.
Last December, Donovan Lawrence, of Milford, who operated Donovans Accounting Services, LLC, in Bridgeport, took a plea deal in the case.
Four U.S. citizens who entered into one or more fraudulent marriages with non-citizens, and one non-citizen who entered into a fraudulent marriage with a U.S. citizen, have also pleaded guilty.
All are await sentencing.
Source: The Connecticut Post