50 in custody in Vietnamese-American sham marriage scam

By Sen    May 14, 2019 | 02:38 pm GMT+7
50 in custody in Vietnamese-American sham marriage scam
Ninety six people have been indicted, half of them undocumented Vietnamese immigrants, in a major sham marriage scam in Houston. Photo by Shutterstock/Tropina Irina
A sham marriage ring that helped Vietnamese to immigrate to the U.S. has been busted in the American city of Houston.

Vietnamese American Ashley Nguyen, 53, the alleged kingpin, ran the operation from a house in southwest Houston which was raided, local news website Khou reported on Monday.

Trang Le Nguyen, 45, an attorney, has been charged with obstructing justice and tampering with witnesses, victims or informants.

Federal officials claimed at a preliminary court hearing that the people going through the sham marriages never intended to live as husband and wife.

The police said at the house they found fake wedding photo albums along with other items used to facilitate the marriages.

Ninety six people have been indicted, half of them undocumented Vietnamese immigrants while the rest were U.S. citizens paid to marry them. They allegedly got paid $30,000-70,000 for each marriage.

Court testimony shows that Ashley Nguyen started the operation in August 2013 and had issued death threats to people who owed money.

Fifty people were in custody as of Monday morning. The Vietnamese nationals are accused of paying someone to arrange a fraudulent marriage, an attorney for one of the defendants told Khou.

Nguyen’s gang also faces charges of providing fake tax, utility, and employment information so that false immigration forms would be approved.

If convicted, most face between 10 and 30 years in federal prison.

 
 
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