Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Feds wrap up marriage fraud cases

Final defendant sentenced to a year in prison


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boise has reported that a final defendant has been sentenced to a year in prison in a federal marriage fraud investigation involving Peruvians and U.S. citizens in Blaine County.

In a news release issued late Thursday, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced that Jenny Sedano-Vilcapoma, a 30-year-old Peruvian woman who had been living in Ketchum, was given a prison sentence of a year plus one day and fined $1,000 for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Sentence was pronounced earlier that day in Boise by U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge.

Olson reported that Sedano-Vilcapoma was the sixth and final defendant in an investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency's Homeland Security Investigations. Olson reported that Sedano-Vilcapoma pleaded guilty to the charge in February and admitted that she had "conspired to enter into a fraudulent marriage with a United States citizen for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits."

Five other defendants, one a Peruvian and the other four U.S. citizens, were sentenced earlier in federal court in Boise as a result of the investigation.

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In April, Peruvian Rudy Isla-Mejico, 38, of Hailey, was placed on probation for five years and fined $1,000 for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Olson reported that Isla-Mejico admitted in pleading guilty to assisting Sedano-Vilcapoma "in recruiting individuals to enter into fraudulent marriages."

U.S. citizens convicted of making false statements in an immigration application were Anthony Joseph Scafidi, 31, formerly of Hailey; Joshua Lee Buell, 30, of Ketchum; Daniel Casado, 34, formerly of Ketchum; and Byron Thomas Bain, 34, formerly of Ketchum. All four were sentenced in 2011 after admitting to entering into fraudulent marriages in exchange for money, typically $5,000.

Scafidi was placed on probation and fined $5,000, while Buell was placed on probation for five years, ordered to perform 60 hours of community service and fined $5,000.

Casado was placed on probation for five years, ordered to perform 60 hours of community service and fined $3,500. Bain was fined $3,500.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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