My colleague Dan Cadman and I have frequently written about immigration-related marriage fraud cases in which alien spouses, usually young women, hoodwink usually older male citizens into marriage, and then use the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act to charge (often falsely) that they have been abused by their citizen spouse – with that accusation bringing a green card to the alien.
I had never, over a period of half a dozen years watching these cases, encountered a genuine case of citizen abuse of an alien spouse (which is not to say that it does not happen), but a bizarre instance of it has come to my attention and I feel an obligation to report it. (It also happened in my own backyard, the Eastern District of Virginia).
The citizen involved, Anthony Caccamo (AC) of Flushing, N.Y., has pled guilty to cyberstalking his alien wife (VB), a resident of Falls Church, Va., in a case that involved
- AC saying that he and his wife "had an open relationship; he said that they got married after four months of dating in part because she needed a visa. . . ." to quote the Washington Post.
- their never living together;
- her sleeping with two Department of Homeland Security employees while married to him;
- his breaking into her cell phone records by stealing a thumb print while she was sleeping (presumably not then with either of the DHS guys);
- then (this is where the citizen abuse comes in) his sending messages to her allegedly from one of the DHS employees, threatening her and her immigration status, while
- pretending that he, too, was getting threatening messages from the same two DHS workers, one of whom was in cybersecurity, while sending the two of them threatening messages.
I am not, in Dave Barry's words, making this up.
Unfortunately, the court records (in PACER at case 1:18-cr-00327-LMB) touch only lightly on the immigration matters. She was a Ukrainian citizen. She apparently had a valid visa (perhaps as an H-1B, I speculate), as she was working during all this. Whether she applied for a green card on the basis of the marriage could not be ascertained from my review of the court records.
VB apparently did not encounter the DHS workers in the line of duty.
We do know, from other sources, that there is an unusually high rate of issuance of K-1 fiancée visas in Ukraine; in fact the proportion of K-1 visas to all visas is about three times the world-wide average. (There is nothing in the court records on this point. See this posting for more on the issuance of K-1 visas, which often lead to cases filed by allegedly abused alien spouses.)
AC, according to his therapist (in a letter to the court) had a life-long struggle with depression, and seems to be less than mature.
He scared the hell out of his wife and the two government people. He had, after all, precise, sensitive information that could be used against all of them.
Further, he seems to have a real talent at manipulating email, buying apps that allowed him to send messages from non-existent electronic addresses – and all with a purloined thumbprint from a sleeping woman. Can a person, a citizen in this case, be immature and vindictive and a bit of a genius, all at the same time?
He was doing to the three of them what squads of Russian hackers seemed to have done to the American electorate in 2016, but unlike those hackers he will spend 12 months in a federal prison.
The next time I run into a case of a citizen abusing his or her alien spouse, in a green card-creating situation, I suspect the abuse will be much more mundane.