A US grand jury indictment unsealed Monday charges 24 people in connection with a sophisticated marriage fraud scheme designed to help Vietnamese nationals enter or stay in the US illegally.

Twenty-one people, most of whom US citizens of Vietnamese origin ranging in age from 29 to 56, were arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County jail without bail on Monday.

 

Those arrested are charged with conspiracy to defraud the US, alien smuggling, marriage fraud, aggravated identity theft and visa fraud, according to the indictment. They each face up to 32 years in jail.

 

Details on the 18-month investigation called Operation Morning Glory were released Tuesday during a news conference at the US Attorney’s Office.

 

US investigators believe some of those charged recruited 80 to 100 Utahns to marry Vietnamese to help them get proper US documentation. Men and women were equally involved in the fake marriages, investigators said.

 

In order to get through the US immigration system, the couples were often coached well by those charged about what to say and what questions federal officials might ask.

 

The people who were matched into couples would visit each other in the US or Vietnam. During those visits, the couple would be photographed many times together in different changes of clothes to make it look like they were a longtime couple, investigators said.


Vietnamese nationals paid ring leaders up to $30,000 for the match. Ring leaders, who prepared much of the immigration paperwork, in turn paid Utahns $500 to $10,000 and travel expenses to agree to the fake marriages.

 

Recruiters told Utahns the marriages were not “illegal” and they would be helping Vietnamese “escape a terrible situation,” the news release said.

 

Investigators said the US federal government is looking into how the couples were able to get through the immigration system and plan to “refine” policies and procedures.

 

Investigators allege there were five ring leaders – Hoa Thanh Vo, 39; Henry Ngoc Nguyen, 45; Buu Ven Truong, 37; Ngoc Hoa “Noa, Nora, Norwa” Huynh, 33, and Danh Huy Do, 33. They said they were still deciding if those who were involved in the marriages would be charged.

 

On Tuesday, some businesses owned by those arrested were closed. Vo is involved in several businesses, including Vietlink Travel and Service and Nails Divine in a new strip mall on 3600 South near Redwood Road, according to state documents.

 

Hang Hoang, 40, Vo’s wife, works at Nails Divine, which has stayed open. Vietlink Travel, however, is shut down because federal agents took much of the business’s computers and documents.

 

Hoang, who moved from Vietnam to Utah 15 years ago, said the two married 13 years ago and have three children ages 12, nine and four. She said Vo was arrested at their West Valley City home on Monday and spoke to him by phone Tuesday.

 

Source: Tien Phong, Salt Lake Tribune

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Thousands of Vietnamese women, mostly poor and uneducated, are illegally leaving the country to marry foreigners, a senior police official said at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City Saturday.

Nguyen Viet Thanh, deputy head of police, said, however, he was not concerned with legitimate “love” marriages with foreigners. But many of the so-called marriages were actually cases of human trafficking in disguise.

 

“Those illegally leaving Vietnam and marrying foreigners often fall prey to prostitution rings and are sometimes sold as commodities,” said Thanh who is attending a two-day meeting in Ho Chi Minh City to consider toughening laws to prevent such marriages.

 

“There are cases in which a Vietnamese woman has to be the wife of many members of the same family. She is treated very badly.”

 

According to information presented at the conference organized by the Vietnam’s Women’s Union, since 1998 nearly 87,000 Vietnamese women have married foreigners. Of them, 10,700 left the country illegally for the purpose.

 

Vietnamese nationals are free to travel abroad but if they plan to get married the law requires them to first register. It is also illegal to leave on a tourist visa and not return.

 

Endemic poverty in rural areas makes Vietnamese women particularly vulnerable to dubious marriage offers. Many who go abroad are forced into prostitution.

 

Others end up essentially as unpaid scullery maids for their new families. Their problems are made worse because they are unable to speak the language and do not understand their adopted country’s culture or laws. Very often, they have a difficult time seeking help or returning home.

 

Police in Vietnam say many of the marriages are being arranged through illegal brokerage services and websites. Most of the women go to the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and China.

 

Between 2003 and the first quarter of 2005, there had been 31,800 cases of whom 70 percent had gone to Taiwan, the conference also heard.

 

“These women are from poor rural areas and they have limited access to education,” Thanh said. “They go abroad hoping to change their life for the better.”

 

Vietnam has now set up marriage support centres in five urban areas to provide advice on married life, including information on the pros and cons of being a Vietnamese bride abroad.

Khaleej Times Online >> News >> THE WORLD

(DPA)

10 June 2006
HANOI – Thousands of Vietnamese women, most of them poor and uneducated, are illegally leaving the country to marry foreigners, a senior police official said on Saturday.

Nguyen Viet Thanh, deputy head of the police under the Ministry of Public Security, said he was not concerned with legitimate “love” marriages with foreigners. But many of the so-called marriages are actually cases of human trafficking in disguise.

“Those illegally leaving Vietnam and marrying foreigners often fall prey to prostitution rings and are sometimes sold as commodities,” said Thanh who is attending a two-day meeting in Ho Chi Minh City that is looking at how to toughen laws to prevent these marriages. “There are cases in which a Vietnamese woman has to be a wife for many members of the same family. She is treated very badly.”

According to information presented at the conference that is being sponsored by the Vietnam’s Women’s Union, since 1998, nearly 87,000 Vietnamese women have married foreigners. Of that number, 10,700 left the country illegally to do so.

Vietnamese nationals are free to travel abroad but if they plan to get married they must first register. It is also illegal to leave on a tourist visa and not return.

Endemic poverty, particularly in rural areas, means that Vietnamese women are particularly vulnerable to dubious marriage offers. Many who go abroad are forced into prostitution.

Others end up essentially as unpaid scullery maids for their new families. Their problems are made worse because they are unable to speak the language and do not understand their adopted country’s culture or laws. Very often they have a difficult time seeking help or returning home.

Police in Vietnam say many of the marriages are being arranged through illegal brokerage services as well as websites advertising brides for sale. Most of the women are going to South Korean, Taiwan, Malaysia and China.

“These women are from poor rural areas and they have limited access to education,” said Thanh. “They go abroad hoping to change their life for the better.”

Vietnam has now set up Marriage Support Centres in five urban areas to provide advice on married life, including information on the pros and cons of being a Vietnamese bride abroad.

 
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Vietnamese police have recently detained a local couple who have trafficked 20 young women to China's Macao to work as prostitutes, local newspaper People's Army reported Friday.

Since 2003, the 36-year-old woman named Nguyen Tuyet Chinh from Hanoi capital and her 42-year-old husband, Nguyen Thanh Son, have cheated 20 local girls from several northern localities of going to Macao to get well-paid jobs. For each girl, they received, on average, 17,500 U.S. dollars from brothels in Macao.

The police have identified four underlings of Chinh and Son, including two Vietnamese people and two persons from China's Hong Kong. They are further probing into the case.

Source: Xinhua

30 Vietnamese 'brides' arrested at gaming den (updated 11:59 a.m.)

Altogether 31 gamblers were rounded up yesterday at a gaming den at Sanchung, a city opposite Taipei across the Tamsui river.All but one of them were Vietnamese "brides."

Some of them took their children to the gambling house, and many of them had stayed there for as long as three days and nights in a row.

The remaining gambler arrested was a Vietnamese worker.

Also arrested were the gambling house operator, Lin Shih-min, 26, and his errand boy, Lee Yu-min, 18.

Sanchung police raided the gambling den shortly after midnight.

They seized NT$670,000 in cash as bet money, IOUs totaling NT$1.65 million, and blank powers of attorney for real estate sales.

Lin asked the losing gamblers to sign those blank powers of attorney in exchange for loans with a high interest, police said.

Some of their husbands own real estate.

Investigators were surprised to find all but one of Lin's customers were Vietnamese women who are married and live in Sanchung and Taipei.

"We are not sure why their husbands did not raise hell when they were away from home for a couple of days without them knowing where their mates and children were," one investigator said.

A mountain of empty lunch boxes was found in the gaming house, the investigator went on. "These women just stayed there gambling, taking meals and feeding their children there," he added. 

Man jailed for duping Vietnamese brides, marriage agencies

Singapore : A 64-year-old man, who cheated marriage agencies and Vietnamese women looking for Singaporean husbands, was sentenced to four and a-half years in prison, news reports said Saturday.

Cobbler Fan Kiet Teng duped marriage agencies into releasing Vietnamese brides to him by giving them dud cheques for $6,100 (10,000 Singapore dollars).

He pleaded guilty to charges of cheating a 21-year-old Vietnamese woman into having sex with him.

District Judge Jasvender Kaur described the scam as “despicable,” The Straits Times said.

“Your conduct can only be described as odious,” she was quoted as saying.

Fan told the agencies he had been a widower for the past 10 years when he was actually living with his 60-year-old wife and two adult children.

Disturbed at how easily Fan got away with his bride-for-sex scam, the judge urged matchmaking agencies to act responsibly and called for guidelines to protect vulnerable foreign woman.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chan said Friday that Fan conducted his scams two months after he was released from prison in August for throwing scalding hot water at his mistress.