2 immigrants, a pastor, and a US Army sergeant convicted for marriage/immigration scheme
DENVER – Four defendants were found guilty, Jan. 17, after a nine-day jury trial for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and making false statements regarding that fraud to the government. No sentencing date has been set.
U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn, District of Colorado, announced the conviction. This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Army Criminal Investigations Division (Army CID) with assistance from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Rajesh Ramcharan, 45, Diann Ramcharan, 37, Sergeant Galima Murry, 31, and Pastor Ken Harvell, 60, were the four defendants in the case.
The purpose of the conspiracy was to obtain immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan and one of their minor children. The Ramcharans, a married couple, came to the United States from Trinidad & Tobago on visitor visas in 2007. They overstayed their visitor visas and settled in Colorado where they devised a scheme to defeat United States immigration laws and stay in the country illegally.
The scheme had several steps. First, in 2010, the couple was married by Pastor Ken Harvell, who signed a marriage certificate for the Ramcharans. The couple then filed for a divorce. Five days after that divorce was finalized, Pastor 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.
Several months later, Rajesh Ramcharan entered into a marriage with Angelica Guevara, who also is a citizen of the United States. Pastor Harvell, whom the jury found knowingly and voluntarily participated in the conspiracy, also signed the marriage certificate between Guevara and Rajesh Ramcharan. 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 U.S. Attorney Jason 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.
The trial was held before the Honorable David M. Ebel. The defendants were prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel McIntyre and Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Treaster.