Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Men plead guilty to ‘sham’ marriages

Blaine County immigration case prosecuted in U.S. District Court

Express Staff Writer

The Idaho U.S. Attorney's Office reported last week that three men have pleaded guilty in a federal criminal case involving fraudulent marriages to Peruvian women in Blaine County.

In a news release, the U.S. Attorney's Office identified the defendants as Joshua Lee Buell, 29, of Ketchum, Daniel Casado, 33, of Austin, Texas, and Bryon Thomas Bain, 33, of Friday Harbor, Wash.

All three recently pleaded guilty in federal court in Boise to the misdemeanor crime of "aiding and abetting making fraudulent statements in an application for immigration registration." The crime is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Sentencing for Bain was scheduled for Monday but results were not available by press deadline Tuesday. Sentencing for Buell and Casado is scheduled for July 20.

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According to the U.S. Attorney General's Office, the cases arose in Blaine County in 2006 and 2007 when Buell, Casado and Bain "entered into sham marriages with Peruvian women, knowing that the sole purpose was for the women to obtain an immigration benefit."

The men were paid between $3,000 and $5,000 and each signed documents that allowed the women to apply for permanent residency status, prosecutors said.

"The marriages were orchestrated during individual meetings at which the defendants met with their future alien spouses and other individuals who arranged the marriages," the news release states. "The scheme was described to the men and each was offered payment to participate in a sham marriage with the alien. The men admitted that everyone participating in the meeting knew the scheme was against the law and designed to illegally obtain immigration benefits."

The U.S. Attorney General's Office reported that the men and women never lived together as husbands and wives.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Terry Smith:

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