NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach, Va., couple was convicted Monday of conspiring to enter into marriages with American citizens for the purpose of obtaining permanent resident status in the United States.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk.
Danil Lyapin, 32, and Natallia Liapina, 54, are scheduled to be sentenced in September.
They each face five years in prison for conspiracy, five years for marriage fraud and five years for each false statement relating to naturalization and citizenship count.
"Marriage fraud poses a direct threat to the integrity of our immigration system and allows people to take advantage of benefits to which they are not entitled," John P. Torres, special agent in charge of HSI Washington, D.C. "HSI will continue its efforts to identify and arrest individuals like Mr. Lyapin and Ms. Liapina, whose actions show a lack of regard for U.S. laws and undermine the legitimate immigration process."
According to court records and evidence at trial, Danil Lyapin entered into a succession of three fraudulent marriages over the past decade to obtain lawful permanent residence status and eventual citizenship in the United States. Danil recruited his longtime business partner Armando to marry his mother so she could come to the United States, fraudulently obtain permanent residence, divorce Armando, re-marry Danil's father and reunite the family in the United States.
Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Joseph DePadilla prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.