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US officials detect and expose fraudulent “Marriage-for-Green-Card” ring in several cities

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US officials have helped detect and exposed a Marriage-for-Green-Card racket involving several persons from different nationalities. John H. Durham, United States attorney for the District of  Connecticut; the acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston; and a supervisory immigration officer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS), announced that Jodian Stephenson, also known as “Jodian Gordon,” 35, of Bridgeport, recently pleaded guilty in New Haven federal court to a conspiracy charge stemming from her arrangement of numerous fraudulent marriages so that non-U.S. citizens would receive U.S. immigration benefits.

USCIS officials within the FDNS Directorate learned of the potential fraudulent marriages to obtain Green Card benefits in 2016 and began collaborating with HSI investigators to reveal numerous cases of marriage fraud.

“We at USCIS take marriage fraud – and all fraud – seriously,” said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. “I commend the professionalism of the USCIS staff that reported the attempts to defraud our immigration system, and our officers who are partnering with HSI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut to investigate these claims. I also thank our law enforcement partners for their efforts to bring perpetrators to justice. Let this serve as a reminder that if you partake in fraudulent activity, you will get caught.”

READ ALSO:   Announcement to DV-2019 Winners: You have until September 30th to secure a Green Card Interview and Visa

According to court documents and statements made in court, Stephenson operated Stephenson Immigration and Legal Services LLC, in Bridgeport. Between 2011 and 2017, Stephenson conspired with others to arrange 28 sham marriages between U.S. citizens and noncitizens residing in the U.S. so the non-citizens’ could apply for and obtain lawful permanent residence (LPR) status, also known as getting a Green Card.

One of the 28 sham marriages was between Stephenson, who is a citizen of Jamaica, and a U.S. citizen.

For each of the other 27 fraudulent marriages, Stephenson found and introduced a U.S. citizen to be the noncitizen’s purported spouse and helped the couple obtain a marriage license. She also organized the marriage ceremony and celebration, and coached the couple on how to make their marriage appear to be genuine despite their neither living together nor otherwise intending to remain actually married.

As part of the scheme, Stephenson prepared several immigration documents needed as part of the noncitizen’s LPR application. She had the applicant and spouse sign the documents and, in many cases, mailed the documents to the USCIS immigration authorities for the applicant. In some cases, Stephenson or her assistants prepared other false documents for the couple, such as a false lease that portrayed the couple as living together.

READ ALSO:   US announces new approach to reduce Green Card, Citizenship applications backlog

Stephenson typically charged between $17,000 and $20,000 to complete this process for a noncitizen, and the citizen spouse received between $2,000 and $4,000 for their participation.

During the investigation, Stephenson offered to arrange a sham marriage for a federal law enforcement agent working in an undercover capacity, and help them obtain a Green Card in exchange for a proposed fee of $20,000. In recorded conversations, Stephenson then introduced the undercover agent to a U.S. citizen and advised them about the ways they could create the appearance that they were legally married and living together as husband and wife.

Stephenson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit immigration marriage fraud. She faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years when U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea sentences her in Hartford. A sentencing date is not scheduled.

Stephenson has been released on a $250,000 bond since her arrest on June 22, 2018.

Six other individuals involved in this scheme previously pleaded guilty.

On Dec. 5, 2018, Donovan Lawrence, of Milford, who operated Donovan’s Accounting Services LLC, in Bridgeport, pleaded guilty to his role in this conspiracy. In addition, four U.S. citizens who entered into one or more fraudulent marriages with noncitizens, and one noncitizen who entered into a fraudulent marriage with a U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty. All await sentencing.

READ ALSO:   READ CAREFULLY: You will need a valid passport to enter the US Green Card Lottery

HSI and FDNS are conducting the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry K. Kopel is prosecuting the case.

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Diaspora

Kenya’s House Speaker JB Muturi arrives in Serbia for a 4-day official visit [PHOTOS]

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Kenya’s Speaker to the National Assemble JB Muturi Arrived in Belgrade, Serbia,  on Monday evening for a 4-day official visit on the invitation of H.E. Mrs. Maja Gojkovic, the Speaker of Parliament.

“We shall be reviewing relations between our legislatures, following our MoU signed in February when I hosted Speaker Gojkovic in Nairobi,” Muturi weeted.

 

READ ALSO:   US Government announces date for Diversity Visa DV 2021 registration commencement
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Diaspora

IN PICTURES: This is how it went down in Atlanta last weekend at Kikuyu Diaspora Media event

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BY MAGGIE MARIKAH KWABENA in Atlanta, Georgia

Kikuyu Diaspora Media’s 1st Anniversary in Atlanta set and raised the bar high in all things events, style and elegance as Kenyans from many US states and other fans from around the globe  packed the auditorium.

As a major Kenyan Diaspora hub, Atlanta is not new to events hosting. But many events have over promised and under delivered. However, that was not the case for Kikuyu Diaspora Media (KDM). They lived up to – and even exceeded – the high expectations of  Kenyans in the Diaspora.

The team was led by their vibrant, energetic CEO and founder Jeremy Damaris who steered the ship from the front lines as MC. The audience was treated to sheer elegance from the moment one stepped into the event hall.

 

Lights, camera, action and more elegance was evident when it came to that coveted moment on the red carpet. Most of those in attendance donned the official vibrant Orange color of KDM.

What made the KDM Event Different? 

The elegance and grace with which KDM conducted the entire event was a breath of fresh air. The welcoming atmosphere, a courteous team with a great sense of order and flow of events. There were a lot of activities but they all seamlessly worked well together.

People felt welcome, appreciated and right at home as they experienced the legendary ATL Southern Hospitality. There was a very positive celebratory energy in the room where people seemed genuinely excited to be at the event. Fans not only came from the different US States but also global fans from Germany, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Kenya made the maiden trip to support KDM.

This is a true testament of the love and support KDM enjoys globally. Fans were upbeat, excited and proud of what KDM has accomplished globally. They believe in the product, they are not just selling it. They own and embrace the KDM Vision and passionately support it. This was supported not just in words but also in their generous contribution to the fund raising towards setting up a permanent KDM Studio in the USA.

READ ALSO:   GOOD NEWS: Here is how to retrieve your Green Card confirmation number in case you lost it

The Guest Singers were a sight to behold too. They did not disappoint when it came to their presentations. They engaged the audience and made it worth their while. I have not danced this much in a long time. It is not always that you get such great talent assemble on one stage. The who-is-who of Kenya Gospel music circles accompanied by US Artistes lit the stage with a powerful praise extravaganza that set the event apart from many others.

It  featured the one and only Atlanta queen of praise Naomi Karanja with her legendary hit Muhotoro, alongside Kenyan artistes Mercy Ken, Shiru wa GP, Mary Githinji, Paul Mwai, Phylis Mbuthia among others.

 

I would not do the event justice if I forgot to mention my personal favorite Man Kush. As always he did not disappoint. His great sense of humor and candid talk left us all in stitches. The man, the myth the legend is funnier in person and a breath of fresh air uniting the old, the young and everyone else in between. He sure does have a way with words.

The Mugithi night was equally refreshing taking us all the way back to Zilizopendwa and new generation beats. There was something for everyone.

What has KDM accomplished in their 1st Anniversary and what’s next?

One of the Goals for KDM 1st Anniversary was to kick start the process of seeking to realise their dream of buying property where they can build their own permanent Media House complete with state of the art studios. To that end they had a very successful fund raising.

 

 

In the true legendary giving spirit of Kenyans, they did not disappoint. They gave passionately to support the vision, dream, future and legacy of KDM. I was particularly impressed by many of the Sponsors that made this event possible.

Hosting events in the Diaspora is often a Herculean task. It is extremely expensive, takes lots of manpower and planning. When Kenyan based investors and businesses partner to invest in the Diaspora, it paves way for mutually beneficial reciprocal relationships.

READ ALSO:   Permanent Residence Draw held in Canada as 3600 Candidates invited to apply

We would like to see more Kenyan-based investors becoming active participants in the dreams, future and vision of the Diaspora. We have many companies doing great things in Kenya and are proud to see them expand their partnerships to support entrepreneurs in the Diaspora.

Business is about building bridges of trust and a great way to do that is to invest in things that the Diaspora is passionate about. Kama Waswahili walivyosema, “mkono mtupu haulambwi.”

As we invest and do business in Kenya, it makes a difference when these Kenyan companies equally partner with the diaspora in things that are important to us as a community.

 

What do you say to those who think we have way too many Kenyan networks as it is?

Well, how many is too many? I think someone’s dream or vision should not be deemed or extinguished because someone else has already started a similar journey or has a similar dream or vision. We all have our separate paths in life. If you have a clear vision and execute it diligently, it will come to fruition in due time.

Run your own race, give the consumer choice, and provide a quality service or product as you anticipate their needs. The modern consumer likes choice and quality. Whoever meets their needs best will be the media outlet that survives in the long term.

Some Media Houses have come and gone but those that understand their niche and market share needs continue to thrive. There is plenty of room in the Diaspora and the World for everyone to accomplish their vision if you work smart, perfect your skills and execute a clear vision. We wish KDM well as they continue to grow and thrive.

 

Comments from Sponsors: 

“At Maridady Motors we are changing this world view and positioning “Kenya” to those in the Diaspora as a place they can do business and grow their capital. Instead of viewing diaspora solely as a market, we view it as a partner. Our audacious proposition is that Diasporians can invest in Kenyan businesses and make money in their home country Kenya.

To make this work, we have created structures to help persons in the Diaspora to invest in the Auto Industry as well as in the Transport business in Kenya. Kikuyu Diaspora Media is a courageous entrepreneurial media that demonstrates the ability of our people to mobilize themselves into functional communities even in the diaspora. The media goes a long way in uniting Kenyans and in helping respond to their needs both locally and internationally. KDM does amazing work of pointing out those who need help either in their countries of residence or even back home. Our CSR department thus could not hesitate to sponsor them in growing this noble course.”  By: Eric Ngigi

 

READ ALSO:   USCIS Announces Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Opportunities

“My name is Peter Gioko EA, PE, MBA MSME. I am a financial advisor with over 15 years in: tax preparation and IRS & all 50 states and tax Audit consultant. I am available 365 days in a year, I prepare taxes for everyone, both individual and corporate taxes. 

I have sponsored the Kikuyu Diaspora Event because it is a media movement for the people by the people with the prime goal to: inform & support the needy, the unknown, and promote the general welfare of mankind. Such a moment is charitable and Good Samaritan investment and I will always support it.” By: Peter Kioko

“I support Kenyan Events because I believe in giving back to the community.” By Esther: Wilpek Fashions

“We support Diaspora events because we are in the Diaspora and understand the needs of the Diaspora. JRN Investments LTD is 100% Diaspora owned. We have a membership of over 300 members across the USA and Kenya. We are in control of our projects and manage them right from here in the Diaspora.” By:  JRN Investment INC Representatives.

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Diaspora

Pomp and colour as Kikuyu Diaspora Media 1st Anniversary event in Atlanta exceeds people’s expectations

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BY MAGGIE MARIKAH KWABENA in Atlanta, Georgia

Kikuyu Diaspora Media’s 1st Anniversary in Atlanta set and raised the bar high in all things events, style and elegance as Kenyans from many US states and other fans from around the globe  packed the auditorium.

As a major Kenyan Diaspora hub, Atlanta is not new to events hosting. But many events have over promised and under delivered. However, that was not the case for Kikuyu Diaspora Media (KDM). They lived up to – and even exceeded – the high expectations of  Kenyans in the Diaspora.

The team was led by their vibrant, energetic CEO and founder Jeremy Damaris who steered the ship from the front lines as MC. The audience was treated to sheer elegance from the moment one stepped into the event hall.

Lights, camera, action and more elegance was evident when it came to that coveted moment on the red carpet. Most of those in attendance donned the official vibrant Orange color of KDM.

What made the KDM Event Different? 

The elegance and grace with which KDM conducted the entire event was a breath of fresh air. The welcoming atmosphere, a courteous team with a great sense of order and flow of events. There were a lot of activities but they all seamlessly worked well together.

People felt welcome, appreciated and right at home as they experienced the legendary ATL Southern Hospitality. There was a very positive celebratory energy in the room where people seemed genuinely excited to be at the event. Fans not only came from the different US States but also global fans from Germany, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Kenya made the maiden trip to support KDM.

This is a true testament of the love and support KDM enjoys globally. Fans were upbeat, excited and proud of what KDM has accomplished globally. They believe in the product, they are not just selling it. They own and embrace the KDM Vision and passionately support it. This was supported not just in words but also in their generous contribution to the fund raising towards setting up a permanent KDM Studio in the USA.

READ ALSO:   Permanent Residence Draw held in Canada as 3600 Candidates invited to apply

The Guest Singers were a sight to behold too. They did not disappoint when it came to their presentations. They engaged the audience and made it worth their while. I have not danced this much in a long time. It is not always that you get such great talent assemble on one stage. The who-is-who of Kenya Gospel music circles accompanied by US Artistes lit the stage with a powerful praise extravaganza that set the event apart from many others.

It  featured the one and only Atlanta queen of praise Naomi Karanja with her legendary hit Muhotoro, alongside Kenyan artistes Mercy Ken, Shiru wa GP, Mary Githinji, Paul Mwai, Phylis Mbuthia among others.

 

I would not do the event justice if I forgot to mention my personal favorite Man Kush. As always he did not disappoint. His great sense of humor and candid talk left us all in stitches. The man, the myth the legend is funnier in person and a breath of fresh air uniting the old, the young and everyone else in between. He sure does have a way with words.

The Mugithi night was equally refreshing taking us all the way back to Zilizopendwa and new generation beats. There was something for everyone.

What has KDM accomplished in their 1st Anniversary and what’s next?

One of the Goals for KDM 1st Anniversary was to kick start the process of seeking to realise their dream of buying property where they can build their own permanent Media House complete with state of the art studios. To that end they had a very successful fund raising.

 

 

In the true legendary giving spirit of Kenyans, they did not disappoint. They gave passionately to support the vision, dream, future and legacy of KDM. I was particularly impressed by many of the Sponsors that made this event possible.

Hosting events in the Diaspora is often a Herculean task. It is extremely expensive, takes lots of manpower and planning. When Kenyan based investors and businesses partner to invest in the Diaspora, it paves way for mutually beneficial reciprocal relationships.

READ ALSO:   US announces new approach to reduce Green Card, Citizenship applications backlog

We would like to see more Kenyan-based investors becoming active participants in the dreams, future and vision of the Diaspora. We have many companies doing great things in Kenya and are proud to see them expand their partnerships to support entrepreneurs in the Diaspora.

Business is about building bridges of trust and a great way to do that is to invest in things that the Diaspora is passionate about. Kama Waswahili walivyosema, “mkono mtupu haulambwi.”

As we invest and do business in Kenya, it makes a difference when these Kenyan companies equally partner with the diaspora in things that are important to us as a community.

 

What do you say to those who think we have way too many Kenyan networks as it is?

Well, how many is too many? I think someone’s dream or vision should not be deemed or extinguished because someone else has already started a similar journey or has a similar dream or vision. We all have our separate paths in life. If you have a clear vision and execute it diligently, it will come to fruition in due time.

Run your own race, give the consumer choice, and provide a quality service or product as you anticipate their needs. The modern consumer likes choice and quality. Whoever meets their needs best will be the media outlet that survives in the long term.

Some Media Houses have come and gone but those that understand their niche and market share needs continue to thrive. There is plenty of room in the Diaspora and the World for everyone to accomplish their vision if you work smart, perfect your skills and execute a clear vision. We wish KDM well as they continue to grow and thrive.

 

Comments from Sponsors: 

“At Maridady Motors we are changing this world view and positioning “Kenya” to those in the Diaspora as a place they can do business and grow their capital. Instead of viewing diaspora solely as a market, we view it as a partner. Our audacious proposition is that Diasporians can invest in Kenyan businesses and make money in their home country Kenya.

To make this work, we have created structures to help persons in the Diaspora to invest in the Auto Industry as well as in the Transport business in Kenya. Kikuyu Diaspora Media is a courageous entrepreneurial media that demonstrates the ability of our people to mobilize themselves into functional communities even in the diaspora. The media goes a long way in uniting Kenyans and in helping respond to their needs both locally and internationally. KDM does amazing work of pointing out those who need help either in their countries of residence or even back home. Our CSR department thus could not hesitate to sponsor them in growing this noble course.”  By: Eric Ngigi

 

READ ALSO:   READ CAREFULLY: You will need a valid passport to enter the US Green Card Lottery

“My name is Peter Gioko EA, PE, MBA MSME. I am a financial advisor with over 15 years in: tax preparation and IRS & all 50 states and tax Audit consultant. I am available 365 days in a year, I prepare taxes for everyone, both individual and corporate taxes. 

I have sponsored the Kikuyu Diaspora Event because it is a media movement for the people by the people with the prime goal to: inform & support the needy, the unknown, and promote the general welfare of mankind. Such a moment is charitable and Good Samaritan investment and I will always support it.” By: Peter Kioko

“I support Kenyan Events because I believe in giving back to the community.” By Esther: Wilpek Fashions

“We support Diaspora events because we are in the Diaspora and understand the needs of the Diaspora. JRN Investments LTD is 100% Diaspora owned. We have a membership of over 300 members across the USA and Kenya. We are in control of our projects and manage them right from here in the Diaspora.” By:  JRN Investment INC Representatives.

 

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