US Army sergeant sentenced to 8 months for marriage fraud scheme
DENVER – A U.S. Army sergeant was sentenced today to serve eight months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and making false statements regarding that fraud to the government. He was one of four defendants tried and convicted together in January 2020.
U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn, District of Colorado, announced the sentence. 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.
Sentenced today, Galima Murry’s nine-day jury trial was held before the Honorable David M. Ebel and the jury reached their guilty verdicts January 16, 2020. Murry was one of four defendants that were found guilty at trial. The other defendants are pending sentencing.
According to facts established at trial, 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. They then 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 in 2011. Sergeant Murry is a citizen of the United States and at the time was a soldier at Fort Carson, Colorado. 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.
Sergeant Murry’s involvement in the conspiracy spanned six years and included participation in filing numerous documents with immigration authorities submitted to prove the fraudulent marriage was real. He received a vehicle as payment for his role in the scheme. In addition, Sergeant Murry obtained military benefits from the Army based on his fraudulent marriage to Diann Ramcharan. The military benefits included additional money in every paycheck during the time that he fraudulently reported being married. Specifically, he got a family separation hardship allowance when deployed and received a housing allowance based on his dependents when in the United States. He also received reimbursements for moving expenses based on his fake wife and one of her children. He also claimed one of the Ramcharan children on his tax return.
In 2015, 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 held themselves out to the public as married.
“Prison is an appropriate consequence for this defendant,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “Mr. Murry not only committed immigration fraud but stole from taxpayers and the military. Hopefully this sentence will be a deterrent to like-minded criminals.”
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.
Senior U.S. Circuit Judge David M. Ebel presided. The defendants were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel McIntyre and Emily Treaster.