LOS ANGELES—Federal authorities arrested 11 people in connection with a sophisticated marriage fraud scheme that targeted Asians seeking U.S. citizenship.
The arrests took place Tuesday in Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Bay Area, according to officials who described the operation as one of the biggest of its kind in the country.
Chinese and Vietnamese nationals were charged up to $60,000 to marry American citizens to obtain green cards, authorities said. Couples were provided with fake wedding photographs, joint tax returns and even love letters.
“Marriage fraud is not a new phenomenon but clearly this scheme was one of the most ambitious and creative we’ve ever encountered,” said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
In recent months, other phony marriage rings were broken up in Iowa, Florida and Chicago.