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When the two teenage girls appeared before the bureaucrat in the imposing downtown Houston federal building, they handed him a routine application for a passport. A federal investigation uncovered a decade-long marriage fraud scheme involving at least five men from an impoverished rural region of Kenya. Prosecutors say they arranged marriages-for-money with a group of women, mostly friends and relatives from Elite dating service Newark NJ Fifth Ward.
Last month, four of the men were sentenced to federal prison; a fifth, Andrew Mitema, has pleaded guilty. According to court records all but one entered the U. Houston Tx man dating black woman Ongaga, 36, arrived in and married year-old Valene Cornelius in The two divorced in and he married Evaline Omari, then 32, in Andrew Mokoro, 36, arrived in In he married Tequilla Rhymes, They divorced two years later and in he married Angela Young, then Herman Ogoti, 53, arrived in and completed one semester at TSU.
Inhe married Sabrina Adams, then Andrew Mitema, 35, came in The next year he married Anteal Adams, then He has attended TSU since the spring of and is currently enrolled, a spokeswoman said. Rebmann Ongaga, 33, is the brother of Alfonso and was refused a U.
Inhe married Vasha Adams, 18, in Kenya, coming here in But when the civil servant inquired where the teens were going, their answer struck him as odd. Pasadena TX woman dating kenyan man Africa, they said, without specifying a country, "to see the Bend match 3 days free trial. The passport agent flagged them for further questioning. Eventually, the teens admitted they were being paid to fly to Kenya and marry men seeking U. Four years later, this April, four men were sentenced to between six and 16 months in federal prison for date ideas Suwanee fraud, marriage fraud and conspiracy to commit marriage fraud.
The fifth pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Prosecutors say the assembly line-like scheme involved at least five men from the same impoverished Kenyan region, boasting dating girl Delaware of the world's highest birth rates.
They married at least seven women, mostly friends and relatives from Houston's Fifth Ward, many of whom hadn't graduated from high school and were unemployed or working menial jobs.
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After completing their sentences, the men likely will be deported to the rural area near the Ugandan border they tried so hard to escape. It's a far cry from Hollywood endings in which couples married for convenience realize they're free online chat room in Mission in love just as immigration agents are banging down the door.
It's also unusual, since few marriage fraud cases go to trial. The vast majority are snuffed out at an administrative level, when Department of Homeland Security investigators put spouses seeking green cards through grueling interviews, which can include questions about how often they are intimate and even the de of their bedsheets. Immigration qq dating Phoenix Arizona AZ Customs Enforcement officials in Houston's Evansville sxe free, covering 53 counties in eastern and southern Texas, say they investigate an average of four marriage fraud cases a year.
Prosecutors in the Southern U. District Court, headquartered in Houston, say the Kenyan scam is one of only two large cases they remember in the past decade that ended in trial. Such cases are expensive to prosecute, with federal sentencing guidelines imposing relatively short penalties.
Moreover, as the Kenyan swindle shows, they can raise thorny questions about the nature of marriage and citizenship itself, even as the rackets themselves are far from sophisticated. From their disheveled and chaotic apartment in a blighted area off Interstate on Houston's northeast side, three of the women involved in the scam said it began after their relative, a security guard at an apartment complex, met Alfonso Ongaga, then a year-old tow truck driver and the "brains behind the operation.
His lawyer, Alphonso Anderson, did not return several calls. But according to court records, Ongaga arrived in Houston in on a student visa to attend Texas Southern University, though he never did.
The scheme, according to Sabrina Adams, the year-old matriarch of the women, was "always strictly business. When the parties first met, in the fall ofthe unemployed Adams and her six children were sharing a cramped two-bedroom apartment with her parents and several relatives. Ongaga's student visa was set to expire at the end of In January, Ongaga married Adams' niece, who'd recently turned Rockford blossom asian online dating that same time, her mother, Sabrina, landed in Harris County Jail for theft by check.
She was soon in trouble again when she and two other relatives were jailed for marijuana possession.
By Augustwhen Anteal Adams married and received her payment, she spent much of it on paying her mother's bail and restoring the family's gas and electricity, which had been off for months for lack of payment. But the rest?
She and Mitema were never intimate, she told investigators. She didn't even know his middle name. But she said she called him every free Atlanta Ga girls sex weeks to ask him for money. Ongaga continued playing matchmaker, prosecutors say, in setting up year-old Andrew Mokoro - also on a Texas Southern University student visa - with a year-old friend of the Adamses.
Like the others, Ogoti was about to lose his student visa. He had attended classes at Texas Southern University, though only for one semester, according to court records. His attorney, Craig Washington, said asian dating Eugene OR because he was injured in a shooting while working as a security guard.
Meanwhile, Ongaga, the ringleader, faced a dilemma. One of his 11 siblings, Rebmann, was denied both a student and tourist visa to the United States. The men's native region of Kisii is so overpopulated, and its rolling hills so over-farmed for tea, coffee and bananas, that experts say it's spurred disproportionately high migration abroad.
The Kenyans had resorted to such unusual methods of skirting immigration roadblocks at least once before. But the tough African-American teen, raised in the rough-and-tumble Fifth Ward, hadn't expected quite how complicated Africa might be. After first missing her flight, then a long two-day journey to Nairobi and another five-hour trip to Kisii, she was exhausted.
She didn't trust the food, refusing Salinas CA culture and dating eat any traditional meals. She found the poverty overwhelming.
And they're tugging big ol' tanks of water around all day; where the men at? I was in the rich part and the poor part, and life is hard. After two days in Kenya for the traditional Kisii marriage ceremony, Adams returned to Houston, vowing never to set foot in Africa again. Prosecutors said meeting men in Elkhart overall narrative of their lives - impoverished and uneducated - shows that they were victims.
They pointed to a similar case in Bryan in which two women, including one from Houston, ran a large-scale ring arranging more than fraudulent marriages for immigrants primarily from Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria. Attorney Edward Gallagher, deputy chief of the Southern District's major crimes section.
The immigrants come in on visas, then they overstay and look for a way to get their permanent residency. The easiest way to do that is by marrying someone who needs the money. In the Kenyan case, dating service Dallas Texas ks of the men arrived on student visas to attend Texas Southern University, though few did. But they held full-time jobs, purchasing middle-class homes near each other in Alief.
They sent money back to their families in Kenya every month and paid taxes, and some even started businesses, their attorneys say. In contrast, nearly all of the women hold long criminal records, ranging from fraud to Gulfport MS dating polish, theft and selling drugs.
Struggling to find steady hookup Macon GA, some relied on government assistance, with the men's payments as supplements. Not all of the women could be reached. But the three Adams women maintain none of the relationships was ever romantic. Nevertheless, Ogoti, a patient care technician in the Methodist Hospital System, listed Sabrina Adams as his life insurance beneficiary and on his K paperwork.
The dark dating Spartanburg SC lived together at various times, his attorney said. He had a relationship with her children. Defense attorneys argue such discrepancies and the very nature of the case calls into question how a legitimate marriage is defined. In the Kenyans' native region of Kisii, arranged marriages are common, as are dowries or payment to the brides.
Attorneys say many of the couples had at least brief physical relationships; some even lived together free call girl in Rhode Island times. What's legally at issue is the intent at inception of marriage, said Joe Perez, an attorney at Houston-based FosterQuan, one of the nation's largest immigration law firms. Concern over marriage fraud in the s led Congress to tighten requirements for spouses seeking green cards, giving couples only a two-year conditional card. Once that's up, they must go through more interviews to make it permanent.
The of marriage petitions that are denied is relatively tiny. Last year, more North Carolina men and dating 80 percent ofnaturalization requests for immediate relatives, which include spouses, were approved. In the Kenyan case, all but one of the five men refused to plead guilty to marriage fraud.
As a result of his legal costs, one filed for bankruptcy. Who'd want to be over there? Sabrina Adams said she can't wait to change her legal name back from Ogoti, which remains on her driver's .
But what about the unvaccinated people he may have exposed? By The Editorial Board. Most Popular. Playing matchmaker In January, Ongaga married Adams' niece, who'd recently turned For Vasha Adams, she was "just thinking about myself and everything I could do with that money.