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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Maryland Man Sentenced to 18 Months for Conspiracy to Commit Visa and Marriage Fraud

Maryland Man Sentenced to 18 Months for Conspiracy to Commit Visa and Marriage Fraud Following HSI Baltimore Investigation

Release Date: May 6, 2024

Conspirator alleged to have facilitated 60 sham marriages and submitted more than 100 fraudulent documents to perpetrate his scheme

BALTIMORE — An investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Washington, D.C. resulted in a Maryland man receiving an 18-month federal prison sentence for charges of conspiracy to commit visa and marriage fraud and a charge of aggravated identity theft. Joshua Shonubi, 59, of Bowie, received the sentence April 18 at the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

“Joshua Shonubi abused his position of trust in a prominent Maryland church for continually undermining the integrity of our legal system for personal gain,” said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris. “He personally orchestrated a fraud scheme where he would compensate his parishioners for fraudulently marrying noncitizens to unlawfully bring them into the United States. HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to dismantle fraud networks working in the Maryland area.”

According to the investigation, Shonubi, who was a pastor at New Life City Church in Hyattsville, used his position of trust to recruit church members who were U.S. citizens to marry foreign nationals for financial compensation. Shonubi accepted payment from the foreign nationals for facilitating these marriages. He used his role as a pastor to recruit and groom economically disadvantaged U.S. citizens to marry these foreign nationals and then sponsored them for permanent residence in the United States.

In furtherance of the fraud, Shonubi created false documentation, which he then submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services so that the fraudulent marriage would be accepted and the foreign national could apply for lawful permanent residency, and eventually United States citizenship. Among other things, Shonubi submitted letters written on his church letterhead asserting under oath that he had performed and officiated the weddings himself.

Shonubi also procured and submitted fraudulent leases and paystubs to support the façade that the marriage between each U.S. citizen and foreign national was legitimate. Between June 2008 and June 2021, Shonubi facilitated more than 60 fraudulent marriages and submitted well over 100 fraudulent documents in support of his scheme.

This investigation was conducted by HSI Baltimore and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Washington, D.C. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

Anyone with information about economic fraud schemes is encouraged to provide their tips to law enforcement. Homeland Security Investigations has a nationwide Tip Line that you can call to report what you know. You can call the HSI Tip Line at 877-HSI-4-TIP. The HSI Tip Line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Learn more about HSI Baltimore’s mission to increase public safety in our Maryland communities on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSIBaltimore.

Last Updated: 05/06/2024
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