(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – A Trinidadian couple who travelled to the United States and entered into fraudulent marriages to gain citizenship was convicted for the crime last week Thursday.
The pastor who signed a marriage certificate and a United States army sergeant who married the Trinidadian woman were also found guilty.
Rajesh Ramcharan, 45, Diann Ramcharan, 37, Sergeant Galima Murry, 31, and Pastor Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty following a nine-day jury trial for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and making false statements regarding that fraud to the government.
The news came in a media release issued by United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn.
It stated that the jury announced the guilty verdicts on Thursday, after approximately three hours of deliberation.
No sentencing date has yet been set. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Army Criminal Investigations Division (Army CID), joined in the announcement.
According to facts established at trial, the purpose of the conspiracy was to obtain immigration benefits for the Ramcharans and one of their minor children.
The release stated that the Ramcharans, a married couple, entered the to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas in 2007.
They overstayed their visitor visas and settled in Colorado.
“They then devised a scheme to defeat United States immigration laws and stay in the country illegally. The scheme had several steps,” it stated.
In 2010, the couple was married by Harvell, who signed a marriage certificate for the Ramcharans.
The couple then filed for a divorce. Five days after that divorce was finalized, Harvell signed a new marriage certificate for Diann Ramcharan and Sergeant Galima Murry.
“Sergeant Murry is a citizen of the United States and at the time was a soldier at Fort Carson. Diann Ramcharan and Sergeant Murry entered into this marriage for the purpose of evading immigration laws and enabling Diann Ramcharan to stay in the United States. In addition, Sergeant Murry separately obtained military benefits by claiming to be married to Diann Ramcharan,” it stated.
Five years later, Rajesh Ramcharan entered into a marriage with Angelica Guevara, who also is a citizen of the United States.
Harvell, whom the jury found knowingly and voluntarily participated in the conspiracy, also signed the marriage certificate between Guevara and Rajesh Ramcharan.
It was stated that during the time of both the Ramcharans’ fraudulent marriages to Murry and Guevara, the Ramcharans lived with each other and otherwise presented themselves to the world as a married couple.
“As the defendants in this case learned, marriage fraud to gain citizenship is a crime,” said Dunn. “There are lawful ways for individuals to become citizens of the United States. Those who try to circumvent those laws will be held accountable.”
Each defendant was also convicted for their involvement in the submission of at least one false statement to U.S. immigration authorities as part of the Ramcharans’ attempts to gain lawful immigration status in the United States.
Guevara pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and testified at trial about the marriage fraud scheme.