Release Date: July 27, 2018
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) assisted in an investigation that led to a federal jury finding Valeriy Tsoy, a citizen of Kazakhstan, guilty of marriage fraud. The successful investigation also led to Zafar Bakhramovic Yadigarov, a citizen of Uzbekistan, pleaded guilty to marriage fraud and conspiracy to commit marriage fraud on July 23. Each faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
According to court documents, in October 2015, agents from U.S. Homeland Security Investigations worked with the Brevard County Clerk of the Court to investigate a significant surge in the number of aliens from multiple former Soviet countries fraudulently marrying U.S. citizens in Brevard County.
The leader of the marriage fraud ring, Dennis Yakovlev, admitted to facilitating at least 50 sham marriages over an 18-month period. The foreign nationals, who were from Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, India, Belarus, and Turkey, traveled to Brevard County from around the United States.
Yakovlev claimed that he was typically paid $1,000 to $2,000 per fraudulent marriage and that the American citizens were paid between $10,000 and $20,000 each. Many of the aliens who engaged in these fraudulent marriages initially entered the country on student visas, but later fell out of legal status. Nine individuals, including Tsoy and Yadigarov, have been convicted of marriage fraud charges during the course of this investigation.
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