A United States based Nigerian, Ibraheem Adeneye, has been found guilty of charges of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, naturalization fraud, making a false statement to a federal agency and marriage fraud, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
The jury returned its verdicts Against Adeneye, 32, of Houston, after 45 minutes of deliberation by a Houston jury in federal court today.
Facts adduced during the course of the four-day jury trial showed that agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiated an investigation in 2008 after noticing indications that Adeneye was engaged in brokering sham marriages between Nigerian nationals and U.S. citizens in order for Nigerians to obtain immigration benefits, ultimately leading to United States citizenship. In return, the U.S. citizen “spouses” received cash payments to assist the Nigerians in the deception.
ICE agents made contact with Adeneye by utilizing a confidential informant, who had previously been married to Adeneye, and an undercover agent posing as a U.S. citizen willing to engage in a fraudulent marriage. The informant introduced the undercover agent to Adeneye who brokered an agreement between a Nigerian acquaintance and the agent. A sham marriage was arranged and the two engaged in a marriage ceremony at the Harris County, Texas, courthouse on Feb. 2, 2009, three days after their first meeting.
During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that Adeneye’s own marriage to the informant from 2002 through 2007 was fraudulent and that Adeneye had never lived with his purported spouse. Documents submitted to Citizenship and Immigration Services in support of Adeneye’s application for United States citizenship, and sworn to by Adeneye, falsely claimed he had been married to and living with the same U.S. citizen spouse for the previous three years.
Adeneye had been released on bond which was immediately revoked following the return of the jury’s verdicts. He will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing, scheduled in August 2010, at which time he faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000. Prosecutors will also file a motion with the court requesting that Adeneye’s United States citizenship be revoked.
ICE conducted the investigation and the case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas Davis and Julie Searle.