Currents News Staff
Federal prosecutors in Texas have indicted nearly 100 people in a massive marriage fraud scheme, as recorded In heavily redacted government documents.
The scheme allegedly involved arranging marriages for immigration papers, and had operations in Houston and Vietnam.
Investigators say that the west side of Houston was the scheme’s epicenter, where a woman by the name of Ashley Nguyen allegedly recruited American citizens to marry Vietnamese nationals in order to obtain legal residency.
“The government in these detention hearings always tries to make these really salacious kind of statements and arguments, as well as making a point to let the judge know she is a naturalized citizen, as though that carries less weight as somebody that has been born here,” said Nguyen’s defense attorney, Marc Carter.
Carter also decried the government’s heavy hand at not only arresting his client, but also her daughter.
Nguyen’s common law husband was arrested as well.
“We’re still waiting for the judge to decide in the case. They’re gonna let him out on bond or not, I don’t know,” said the husband’s brother.
The indictment even ensnared a lawyer, Trang Le Nguyen, who allegedly helped file documents to make the marriages look legit.
Other defendants are accused of everything from flying to Vietnam to marry their supposed spouses, to making fake photo albums to show a relationship, all of which defense attorneys deny.
“The accusation basically is paying somebody to arrange a fraudulent marriage, that’s the allegation,” said Tom Henderson, one defense attorney on the case.
It remains unclear what evidence the federal government will be able to gather from the Houston house, but Nguyen’s attorney says helping people is not a crime.
“When we get to court it’s my intention to fight tooth and nail to the bitter end for my client,” he said.