Marriage fraud, or the act of getting married for financial or personal gain, is a federal crime resulting in significant charges against the accused. It is seen as an attempt to defraud the government and potentially exploit vulnerable populations.
In this blog post, we’ll be looking at why marriage fraud is taken so seriously, what prosecutors are looking for when they accuse you of it, and what you can do to fight back. Let’s begin!
Why Is Marriage Fraud Illegal from the Government’s Perspective
Marriage fraud is illegal because it involves the intentional misuse of marriage for personal gain. Marriage fraud not only undermines the integrity of a legitimate marriage but it can also be used to exploit vulnerable people, such as those who have recently immigrated and are more easily taken advantage of due to language barriers.
Additionally, marriage fraud is often used as a tool to skirt immigration laws. As a result, it places both immigrants and citizens at risk and threatens the safety of entire communities.
What Prosecutors Are Looking For
When prosecutors bring charges of marriage fraud, they look closely at the circumstances surrounding the marriage. They ask questions such as whether the parties had met before or if a financial arrangement was made between them in order to enter into the marriage.
Additionally, prosecutors investigate to ensure that each party is actually living together and intends to stay together after they get married. Furthermore, prosecutors also assess any external factors that could influence one of the parties’ decisions to marry such as religious pressure, cultural expectations, and/or family dynamics.
Prosecutors also evaluate documents for evidence of fraudulent intent. This includes looking for red flags like fake addresses, inconsistencies in dates on forms, or documents with different names from what was entered on the marriage license application.
They may also examine photographs or video footage in order to confirm if anyone involved was engaging in activities that are inconsistent with having a genuine marital relationship such as meeting with other people or attending events alone.
Lastly, witnesses may be interviewed by prosecutors in order to gain insight into the nature of the union. Witnesses can provide important information about who initiated contact between the two parties and if there were any pressures put on either individual during negotiations or at any time before and during the wedding ceremony itself. By piecing together all these clues and gathering enough evidence, prosecutors can determine whether or not a marriage is fraudulent.
What Your Attorney Will Do If You Are Accused of Marriage Fraud
A good attorney will thoroughly review the evidence against their client, seeking out any inconsistencies or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. This can include looking for documentation that proves the two parties had actually resided together since before they were legally married, paying close attention to financial documents to demonstrate that no payments were exchanged as part of a “marriage of convenience” agreement, or obtaining alibis from witnesses who can testify to where the client was on particular dates.
Additionally, an attorney may also look for evidence of entrapment by investigating if law enforcement personnel had any direct contact with their client prior to the arrest. In addition to reviewing evidence and searching for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, a good attorney will also work to build a defense based on their client’s unique circumstances.
For example, an attorney may argue that their client was misled by another party as to the legal nature of their union or that a contract or agreement between them was not formally signed or written down. An experienced lawyer can also bring up extenuating factors such as culture shock and language barriers which may have led to confusion about details related to marriage fraud.
Finally, an experienced attorney will be knowledgeable about how marriages are viewed in different states and countries and this can be invaluable when assessing how the legislature defines marriage fraud in any particular jurisdiction. By utilizing all these strategies and techniques, a good attorney can provide an effective defense against charges of marriage fraud.
Have You Been Accused of Marriage Fraud?
You have a partner in John Teakell, who is well-versed in both sides of immigration fraud and other related cases. He has worked on the prosecutor’s side and knows all the techniques they will use to get a plea or conviction. If you’ve been accused, then he’s the person you need to speak to. Contact him today to set up a free consultation for your marriage fraud case.