MIAMI, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– Federal prosecutors have charged 47-year-old Miami resident Yamira Sanchez with helping foreign national men fraudulently obtain their United States green cards by brokering their marriages to Cuban-born women living in South Florida as United States citizens or legal permanent residents. These brokered marriages allowed the foreign men to take advantage of accelerated immigration benefits under the Cuban Adjustment Act.
According to the indictment unsealed this week in federal district court in Miami, Sanchez owned Immigration Consultant and Immigration Corp., a South Florida company that offered immigration application and other services to the public. Some of the services were illegal, says the indictment. It is alleged that Sanchez and her co-conspirators profited from arranging fraudulent marriages between men from Italy with no legal status in the United States and women who had been born in Cuba, immigrated to the United States, and obtained legal status here as United States citizens or legal permanent residents. Because the women had been born in Cuba, the Cuban Adjustment Act allowed them to seek expedited immigration benefits for their foreign national husbands: immediate legal permanent residence in the United States, in most cases.READ MORE: Trump says he took the Fifth in questioning in New York Attorney General fraud investigation
In exchange for thousands of dollars from men they barely knew, the women – all recruited by Sanchez and her co-conspirators – married the men and filed immigration petitions on their behalf, asking the United States government to grant legal permanent residence status to their newly-minted husbands, says the indictment. This allowed the men to permanently reside and legally work in the United States. It was Sanchez, through her company, who prepared, notarized, and filed the marriage and immigration paperwork necessary to secure immigration benefits for the Italian men, according to the indictment.
The indictment charges Sanchez with one count of conspiring to commit marriage fraud and five counts of unlawfully encouraging an alien to reside in the United States. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The indictment also charges husband-beneficiaries Gennaro di Tommaso (32), Massimillano di Napoli (47), Fernando Sivo (25), Alessio Sarno (31), and Vincenzo Lopopolo (34), with conspiracy and marriage fraud, for which they face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. It charges wife-petitioners Yaneisi Osorio Rodriguez (35), Emily Perez (30), Jaileen Dominguez (23), Elizabeth Penalver (29), and Loi Torriente (29), with conspiracy, marriage fraud, and one count each of unlawfully encouraging an alien to reside in the United States. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.READ MORE: Gabby Petito's Family Seeks $50 Million From Utah Police Department For Inadequate Response To Brian Laundrie's Abuse
Defendants made their initial appearances this week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres. They are free on bond, pending trial.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office, announced the charges.
HSI Miami investigated this matter with assistance from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Will J. Rosenzweig is prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Annika Miranda is handling asset forfeiture.MORE NEWS: The FDA Authorizes Change In How Monkeypox Vaccine Is Given
An indictment contains mere allegations and defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.