Arrest warrants have been issued for a sergeant and a private at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for their role in a green card scam that lured immigrants into marriages with enlisted personnel in return for money, housing benefits, and other gifts.
According to federal court documents obtained by Stripes, Sgt. Edward Kumi Anguah led the conspiracy, while Pvt. Ahmid Mohammed-Murtada, a naturalized citizen from Ghana, assisted.
According to Stripes, the operation was first uncovered in December 2018 when the Department of Homeland Security interviewed Pvt. Endasia East, who had an affair with an enlisted soldier while married to Sulemana Ibrahim. East admitted her marriage to Ibrahim was fraudulent, likely perpetrated to evade immigration laws.
Immigration law is a controversial topic in the United States, and Homeland Security doesn’t appreciate attempts to skirt it. Investigators soon learned that Mohammed-Murtada and East served in the same unit, which is where the private convinced his colleague to marry Ibrahim, a Ghanian-citizen living in New York on a visa that expired in July 2018.
The deal Mohammed-Murtada struck with East included a Basic Housing Allowance stipend, usually more than $1,000, as well as $1,250 for the first two month’s rent and furniture. East and Ibrahim signed their sham marriage certificates at the Cumberland County Courthouse in New Jersey before East met with Sgt. Anguah.
“She was told by Sgt. Anguah and Private Mohammed that she would need to stage photos with Ibrahim in order to make the marriage look legitimate,” a court affidavit reports.
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East was told to add Ibrahim’s name to her apartment lease and life insurance to make their marriage seem more believable.
“Private East stated Sgt. Anguah had asked her if she was willing to find additional soldiers for him to arrange marriages to,” the affidavit said. “She told Sgt. Anguah she would be on the lookout.”
East then brought another female friend to Anguah to set up a similar arrangement.
The sergeant obliged.
In early 2019, Anguah met with another perspective bride. She asked for $800 in exchange for marrying an immigrant. The sergeant countered with $6,000, claiming he would take a percentage of the fee.
“Sgt. Anguah stated he would take care of the ring and ‘everything,'” the affidavit said.
This time, the false bride-to-be turned out to be an undercover agent working with Homeland Security.
Sgt. Anguah arranged for the woman to marry an immigrant named Kwaphoom Eugene Hoomkwap, who was living in New York. Hoomkwap and the agent met at the Fayetteville courthouse to receive their marriage license, facilitated by Anguah, which triggered the issuance of federal arrest warrants.
Ibrahim, Mohammed-Murtada and Anguah are now being charged with marriage fraud, misuse of visas and aiding and abetting.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.