Last Maine Defendant in Sham Marriage Conspiracy to Be Sentenced Tuesday

By Harrison, Judy | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), April 8, 2014 | Go to article overview

Last Maine Defendant in Sham Marriage Conspiracy to Be Sentenced Tuesday


Harrison, Judy, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


BANGOR, Maine -- An investigation into a multistate marriage fraud conspiracy that led to the conviction of 28 defendants in Maine apparently will conclude Tuesday afternoon with the sentencing of Margaret Kimani, 30, of Worcester, Mass., in U.S. District Court.

After Kimani is sentenced, Maine's U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II and Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, will hold a joint press conference about the conspiracy at the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor. The press conference will be broadcast to the U.S. Attorney's Office located in Portland at 100 Middle St., East Tower on the sixth floor, according to a press release issued Monday by Delahanty's office.

"Launched in 2005 by HSI, the investigation identified over 40 sham marriages in the Lewiston-Auburn and Newport areas between U.S. citizens from Maine and nationals of Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Cameroon," the press release said. "The Maine residents were paid to marry the foreign nationals and to assist them in fraudulently seeking to obtain a marriage-based change in their immigration status to that of a lawful permanent resident, or green card holder."

Kimani appears to be the last defendant in the cases prosecuted in Maine. It is the practice of the U.S. Attorney's Office not to discuss cases until after sentencings. Information about cases possibly pending in other states was not available early Tuesday.

A federal jury of seven women and five men in December found Kimani, a native of Kenya, guilty of entering into a sham marriage and falsely claiming she had been abused so she could remain in the U.S. and eventually become a citizen. She was convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

Kimani married a Maine man in Lewiston on Dec. 30, 2003, nearly two years after her visitor's visa expired Feb. 3, 2002, in order to gain U.S. citizenship more easily, according to court documents.

She was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2012 but was not arrested until 13 months later when she returned from a visit to her native Kenya. She has been held without bail since her arrest Sep. 5, 2013, at JFK International Airport in New York City.

Kimani is one of 28 African and American citizens who have been charged in federal court in Maine in connection with the scheme hatched by Rashid Kakande, 41, of Lexington, Mass. …

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