Two people in Las Vegas pleaded guilty to helping others enter into a fake marriage to obtain U.S. citizenship.
The announcement came from U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Harris for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on Thursday.
According to the indictment and individual plea agreements, 58-year-old Jennifer Hamoy and 76-year-old Antonio Ybanzez conspired to assist a non-citizen immigrant to become a permanent U.S. resident through marriage, even though the people they were helping had no intention of living a life together as husband and wife.
The Department of Justice says that Hamoy and Ybanez instructed the couple on how to make the marriage seem real by opening joint bank accounts, filing joint tax returns, getting driver's licenses with the same address, and taking photos together.
Ybanez, who is not an attorney, also introduced Hamoy as his paralegal as both filed fraudulent immigration paperwork with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which she did for a fee. Their filing for a visa petition and application contained false and misleading statements to the USCIS for adjustment of citizenship status.
The above actions took place between December 10, 2013, to July 10, 2015, according to the Department of Justice.
A sentencing hearing for Hamoy and Ybanez are scheduled for August 30 and August 8, 2018, respectively. They face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
HSI investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Jaroch is the prosecutor.