On July 26, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a press release regarding a conviction involving an immigration fraud scheme that USCIS had participated in investigating [PDF version].
According to court documents and statements, David Nikolashvili, a 52-year old citizen of the Republic of Georgia, operated an immigration fraud scheme “through which he obtained false immigration status from [USCIS] for approximately 50 to 60 citizens of European countries.” Specifically, Nikolashvili was paid between $12,000 and $16,000 by foreign nationals for arranging sham marriages with U.S. citizens who were paid for entering into the sham marriages.
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Deiredre M. Daly, announced that Nikolashvili pled guilty to one count of making a false swearing in an immigration matter. He faces a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years. He will be sentenced on October 27, 2017, by United States District Judge Robert N. Chatigny. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas P. Morabito.
In our website's overview of marriage fraud, we explain why entering into a sham marriage is often fatal to one's immigration prospects [see article]. Furthermore, for those who are tempted to circumvent the immigration laws, it is important to remember that immigration authorities and prosecutors are experts at detecting and prosecuting marriage fraud cases.
In April of 2017, the USCIS highlighted its role in another marriage fraud investigation that led to convictions [see blog]. Please also see our recent article on a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision finding that a section 237(a)(1)(H) waiver of deportability is not available for an alien who is charged with having committed a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) stemming from false statements made regarding his or her entering into a sham marriage [see article].