HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A local Bridgeport woman was sentenced to six months in prison and three years of supervised release for arranging over 28 marriage frauds.
Jordian Stephenson, 37, was helping non-U.S. citizens receive U.S. immigration benefits between 2011 and 2017. According to official reports, Stephenson would charge non-U.S. residents between $17,000-$20,000 and the U.S. resident $2,000-$4,000 to obtain a marriage license.
According to court documents and statements in court, Stepheson operated Stephenson Immigration and Legal Services, LLC in Bridgeport. In the six years that she was running her fraudulent business, Stephenson and others scammed over 28 marriages between U.S. residents and non-U.S. residents for the purpose of obtaining a green card.
Part of the scheme was that Stephenson and her accomplices created false green card applications and false documents for the couple, and fake leases to make it seems as though the couple was living together. Stephenson would also organize marriage ceremonies and celebrations, and help coach the couple on how to make their marriage appear to be genuine, despite never living together nor ever intending to remain married.
During the investigation, Stephenson offered to arrange a fraud marriage for a federal law enforcement agent working undercover, and help obtain a green card for the undercover agent, in exchange for a proposed fee of $20,000. In recorded conversations, Stephenson introduced the undercover agent to a U.S. citizen and advised them about the ways they could create the appearance that they were validly married and living together as husband and wife.
After the investigation, Stephenson was arrested on June 22, 2018, and in August of last year, she pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit immigration marriage fraud.
A total of 10 individuals, including U.S. citizens who were a part of one or more fraudulent marriages with non-citizens, have been charged with related offenses as a result of this investigation, and eight have pleaded guilty. Removal proceedings are being commenced against all individuals whose green card applications were found due to the fraud marriages.
Stephenson, who is released on a $250,000 bond, is required to report to prison on October 25. She faces immigration proceedings when she completes her prison term.