ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A dozen men and women have been charged in North Carolina with creating fake marriages to help foreign citizens achieve permanent U.S. residency.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday that indictments were unsealed in Asheville on Wednesday charging the suspects with marriage fraud conspiracy and related violations.
The indictment states that foreigners paid between $1,500 and $3,000 for fake marriages to U.S. citizens to secure permanent residence in the United States.
Prosecutors say the scheme was focused in Swain and Jackson counties in western North Carolina and started in June 2015 and ran through December.
Most of those charged are from Cherokee while others are from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and Israel.
Prosecutors said after getting marriage certificates, most of the non-citizens applied for changes in their immigration status.