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Document and Benefit Fraud

Naturalized Nigerian convicted of arranging sham marriages

His own marriage and naturalization found to be fraudulent, and could strip him of U.S. citizenship

HOUSTON - A local man was found guilty on Friday of marriage fraud and conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, naturalization fraud, and making a false statement to a federal agency. This conviction was announced by U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Ibraheem Adeneye, 32, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Nigeria was found guilty by a federal jury of brokering sham marriages between Nigerian nationals and U.S. citizens so the Nigerians could illegally obtain immigration benefits, which would ultimately allow them to receive U.S. citizenship. In return, their fraudulent U.S. citizen "spouses" received cash payments to assist the Nigerians in the deception. The verdict was rendered after a 45 minute deliberation by the jury.

ICE agents initiated the investigation in 2008 after contact with Adeneye using a confidential informant, who had previously been married to Adeneye, and an undercover agent posing as a U.S. citizen willing to engage in a fraudulent marriage. The informant introduced the undercover agent to Adeneye who brokered an agreement between a Nigerian acquaintance and the agent. A sham marriage was arranged and the two engaged in a marriage ceremony at the Harris County, Texas, courthouse on Feb. 2, 2009, three days after their first meeting.

During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that Adeneye's own marriage to the informant from 2002 through 2007 was fraudulent and that Adeneye had never lived with his purported spouse. Documents submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in support of Adeneye's application for U.S. citizenship and sworn to by Adeneye, falsely claimed he had been married to and living with the same U.S. citizen spouse for the previous three years.

Adeneye had been released on bond which was immediately revoked following the return of the jury's verdict on May 7. He will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled in August. He faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000. Prosecutors will also file a motion with the court requesting that Adeneye's U.S. citizenship be revoked.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas Davis and Julie Searle, Southern District of Texas, are prosecuting this case.