Join Fox News for access to this content

Plus special access to select articles and other premium content with your account – free of charge.

Please enter a valid email address.

By entering your email and pushing continue, you are agreeing to Fox News’ Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which includes our Notice of Financial Incentive. To access the content, check your email and follow the instructions provided.

Having trouble? Click here.

Four individuals have been charged in Massachusetts after running a “large-scale” marriage fraud agency marketed to illegal migrants, authorities said.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts, four Philippine nationals in Los Angeles were arrested for marriage fraud and immigration document fraud after they created “hundreds of sham marriages” between illegal migrants.

Authorities said that 50-year-old Marcialito Biol Benitez operated the agency in a brick-and-mortar office in Los Angeles between October 2016 and March 2022.

Benitez’s scam marriages and adjustment of his clients’ immigration status cost between $20,000 and $35,000 in cash, the attorney’s office said.

CALIFORNIA BILL WOULD EXTEND LEGAL AID TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS CONVICTED OF VIOLENT FELONIES

Benitez recruited other co-conspirators to recruit U.S. citizens to marry the agency’s clients in exchange for payment.

The agency produced the fake wedding ceremonies at parks, chapels and other locations and used online officiants, the district attorney’s office said.

Authorities said that for many of the clients, the agency would take photos of undocumented clients and citizen spouses in front of prop wedding decorations for later submission to immigration petitions. 

Photos from the U.S. Attorney’s Office showed the arranged marriage taking place.

Scam marriage ceremony

Benitez’s business also assisted the migrants in helping their fake marriages to citizens appear legitimate.

The 50-year-old helped the fake spouses practice interviews in preparation to pass the required interviews with immigration authorities.

‘SHOCKING’ CALIFORNIA BILL TO PROTECT VIOLENT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FROM DEPORTATION DRAWS FIERCE BACKLASH

Along with orchestrating scam marriages, authorities said that the business “circumvented” U.S. immigration laws by claiming that the migrants had been abused by their American spouses.

The attorney’s office said that this typically happened when the migrants fake spouse became unresponsive or uncooperative.

Marcialito Biol Benitez

In March 2024, Benitez along with his co-conspirators were charged with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and immigration document fraud in April 2022, the statement said.

Benitez was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper on March 7 to 22 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Benitez pleaded guilty in September 2023.

Juanita Pacson, 48, was also sentenced by Casper on March 7 to two years of supervised release with the first four months on home detention after previously pleading guilty in September 2023.

Engilbert Ulan, 43, was sentenced by Casper on March 6 to 14 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Ulan was convicted by a federal jury in November 2023.

On Jan. 11, Nino Valmeo, 47, was sentenced by Casper to three years of supervised release with the first six months on home confinement after pleading guilty in August 2023.

Share.

Leave A Reply

© 2024 Time Bulletin. All Rights Reserved.