Two Missouri Residents Plead Guilty to Marriage Fraud Conspiracy involving Kenyans, Tanzanians
Two Kansas City, Mo., residents pleaded guilty in federal court to their roles in a marriage fraud conspiracy.
Delmar Dixon, 49, and Shakeisha Harrison, 37, both of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to the charges contained in an Aug. 31, 2016, federal indictment.
Dixon and Harrison each admitted that they participated in a conspiracy to assist African nationals in circumventing immigration laws by arranging fraudulent marriages. In addition to the conspiracy, Dixon pleaded guilty to falsely swearing in an immigration matter.
Co-defendant Traci R. Porter, 44, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty on Jan. 19, 2017, to her role in the marriage fraud conspiracy.
By pleading guilty today, Dixon admitted that he arranged 30 to 40 fraudulent marriages, including his own. Dixon charged the African nationals $1,000 upfront for his services, which included providing them U.S. citizen spouses. The African nationals were additionally required to pay $500 to the spouse at the time of the wedding, and an additional $500 immediately after completion of the wedding. They were required to pay their spouses $250 each month after the weddings until the immigration process was complete. The African nationals were coached by Dixon on how to make their marriages appear legitimate.
In addition to arranging fraudulent marriages, Dixon engaged in a fraudulent marriage himself. Dixon obtained a marriage license on March 19, 2008, and married a Kenyan national who had entered the United States as a B2 nonimmigrant visitor but overstayed her visa.
Harrison admitted that she entered into a fraudulent marriage arranged by Dixon. Her spouse, a Tanzanian national, entered the United States as an F1 nonimmigrant student to attend Park University. The two were married on Feb. 12, 2010, and Harrison filed for permanent resident status for her spouse on Aug. 12, 2014.
Porter admitted that she was involved in the marriage fraud scheme through her own marriage and her involvement in other fraudulent marriages. In June 2008, Porter married a Kenyan national who had entered the United States as a B2 visitor. He was granted conditional lawful permanent resident status; Porter also filed petitions for an alien relative for her step-daughter and step-son. However, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi denied the children immigrant visas because Porter and her spouse failed to establish they had a bona fide ongoing marriage, and there was a suspicion (later confirmed) that he was not legally divorced from a prior marriage. To remedy this, Porter filed for divorce and her spouse divorced his wife in Kenya, then they remarried and he was granted permanent resident status.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents utilized a confidential informant and an undercover agent in their investigation. The CI successfully arranged a meeting with Dixon, paid the required fees, and married the spouse provided to him by Dixon in a pretend ceremony staged by HSI. (Because the marriage was staged by HSI, it is not legally valid.) The confidential informant continued to pay the $250 monthly fee for the fraudulent purported marriage. In late December 2015, HSI initiated the operation involving the undercover agent. The agent met with Dixon (who introduced the agent to his intended spouse) and made a payment to Dixon. Dixon also offered the undercover agent $300 for each new client he referred.
Under federal statutes, Dixon is subject to a sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Harrison and Porter are each subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.