A woman who arranged fraudulent marriages between Chinese nationals and American citizens for immigration benefits through her San Francisco business was sentenced in federal court today to 19 months in prison.
Kwan Tsoi, also known as Joyce Cai, carried out the operation from her business in the city’s Tenderloin District, brokering marriages so that Chinese citizens could obtain their green cards, according to federal prosecutors. She also admitted assisting with paperwork requesting green cards for her clients.
U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup also ordered Tsoi to forfeit $250,000 in proceeds for these marriages, and serve three years of supervised release.
Court records show that Tsoi admitted brokering nine such marriages between February 2007 and February 2008. She advertised in Chinese-language newspapers and charged approximately $30,000 for her services.
In April she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, six counts of marriage fraud and five counts of making false statements on immigration documents.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said that any violation of immigration law is taken seriously, but that his office is “especially aggressive in identifying and prosecuting those involved in marriage frauds and marriage-related scams.”
Two others were also charged for their alleged roles in Tsoi’s operation. Henry Navarro has pleaded guilty to a felony count of conspiracy for serving as an official recorded witness in one fake marriage, according to prosecutors. Kelly Ecker has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge for marrying a Chinese citizen in exchange for $17,000.
She was sentenced to two years’ probation and must give a public speech to deter others from participating in fake marriages, according to U.S. Attorney’s office.