A New Jersey woman has been found guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States after a fake marriage with a Nigerian man.
The 28-year-old woman, Ajia Strauss who was arraigned before a Pittsburgh federal court on Thursday February 13, 2020, pleaded guilty to entering a sham marriage with a Nigerian man, Mosuru Ogunbiyi, 36, who was living in Pittsburgh so he could become a permanent resident.
According to prosecutors, Ogunbiyi returned to western Pennsylvania where he was already living after the marriage was conducted in New Jersey on June 3, 2016. He was said to have paid Strauss $1,500 for the fake marriage.
They falsified documents, made untrue statements to Citizenship and Immigration Services, staged loved up photos, claimed they lived together and also opened a joint bank account.
After Ogunbiyi filed for permanent residency status in 2017, text messages revealing their discussion about Strauss’ address and learning more about each other before the fake marriage were obtained by authorities.
The duo were indicted in July 2019 and the Nigerian man who pleaded guilty to same offence in December 2019, has already served two and a half months in jail and is also likely to be deported.
Strauss could face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines, authorities said. She is scheduled to be sentenced in Pittsburgh on June 3.