Monday 24 February, 2020

Two T&T nationals found guilty of marriage fraud in US

Two Trinidadian’s are among four people who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and making false statements regarding that fraud, to the US government.

The verdict was delivered by a Colorado judge on January 17, 2020. No sentencing date has been set.

The defendants are Trinidadian nationals Rajesh Ramcharan, 45 and Diann Ramcharan, 37 along with Army Sergeant Galima Murry, 31 and Pastor Ken Harvell, 60.

The case was investigated by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Army Criminal Investigations Division (Army CID) with assistance from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

The four had reportedly planned to obtain immigration benefits for Rajesh and Diann Ramcharan and one of their minor children.

The Ramcharans went to the United States on visitor visas from Trinidad and Tobago in 2007. They overstayed their visitor visas and settled in Colorado where they attempted to legalise their status.

The couple was married by Pastor Ken Harvell in 2010. They then filed for a divorce. Five days after that divorce was finalized, Pastor Harvell signed a new marriage certificate for Diann and Sergeant Galima Murry. Sergeant Murry is a citizen of the United States and at the time was a soldier at Fort Carson. The court found that the marriage was solely to evade immigration laws and enable the woman to stay in the country. In addition, Sergeant Murry obtained military benefits by claiming to be married.

Several months later, Rajesh married Angelica Guevara, who also is a citizen of the United States. Pastor Harvell, whom the jury found knowingly and voluntarily participated in the plan, also signed that marriage certificate.

Throughout these developments, the Ramcharans lived with each other and otherwise presented themselves to the world as a married couple.

Each defendant was also convicted for their involvement in the submission of at least one false statement to US immigration authorities.

Guevara pleaded guilty and testified at trial about the marriage fraud scheme.

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