Usually, we at CIS find out about yet another marriage-related immigration fraud case when the U.S. citizen who had been conned into the marriage discovers that the alien spouse has betrayed the citizen — the alien’s objective was a green card all along, not a happy marital union. We hear from the citizen in such cases.
This time is different; an Uzbek couple is still married to each other, but the U.S. attorney for the central district of Florida, is unhappy with both of them for a long series of fraudulent acts, all designed to secure the couple’s status in the U.S. and to get benefits for themselves and their presumably U.S.-born children.
The partners in the case are Abduvosit Razikov, 44, a male apparently born in what is now Uzbekistan, and his wife Dirabo Ovidova, 35, also a citizen of that Stan; they may be prosperous. The indictment identifies her as the president of two trucking companies.
He apparently came to the U.S. first and became, according to the district attorney’s press release, first a U.S. green card holder, and then a citizen, “through a fraudulent marriage to a U.S. citizen”.
Soon thereafter he helped an unindicted co-conspirator, a male U.S. citizen, to secure a K (fiance’s) visa for Ovidova so that she, too, could come to America and enter a fraudulent marriage with the citizen. They married and she subsequently got a green card, divorced the citizen, and married Razikov. She then had a child or two with Razikov — the indictment is hard to follow at this point.
The couple then spent years lying on a batch of government documents about prior marriages and who was the male parent of the child or children; these documents included applications for the green card, for naturalization for him, for attempted naturalization for her, for income tax returns, and on passport applications for (at least) him and one or more of the children.
Who Noticed the Fraud? My sense is that, as time went by and as the couple accrued various benefits from various agencies for themselves and their children, their vulnerability increased each time that they applied for something, in that there was always a new set of eyes on the application. For 16 years they had a perfect batting average; nobody noticed anything. And then somebody did, a part of the tale not mentioned in either the press release or the indictment.
So what happened? DHS is not known for its ability to track down marriage fraud cases, as I have learned over the years, as it is useless in most cases of marriage fraud that we hear about, but there is a clue in the press release. It notes “valuable assistance from the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service”, among that of other agencies, which is most likely to have happened when a passport was sought. I think I recall another case in which that same agency was cited in a similar manner.
Getting a passport is a final (and totally optional) step in this messy and extended process; the couple might not be in trouble had they been content to stay in the U.S., but their ages suggest that living parents (and maybe a grandparent or two) remain in Uzbekistan. Filing for one or more passports could be viewed as act of hubris.
Let’s Shift Gears. The article above was written from the point of view of one who believes in the enforcement of the immigration law. My late father, Sterling North, a novelist, would have taken a different approach.
He had no particular interest in either immigration or law enforcement. He would have seen love conquering all, or almost all, for 16 years in a strange land; he might have seen the decision to apply for passports for the children as a fatal over-reach, happening because of fondness for the kids.
The novel would end as husband, wife, and children land in Tashkent or Samarkand, all depressed by their departure from the U.S. and challenged as they face a new life (and for the kids a largely new language) in the former Soviet Republic.
So far we have, in reality, the indictment, with the trials or trial, and the judge’s decision on the punishment (if any) waiting in the future, probably not to be resolved for years.