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Iowa woman convicted of lying in immigration petition

gavel-justiceCEDAR RAPIDS – A woman who made a false statement in an immigration petition was convicted by a jury on May 9, 2016, after a one-day trial in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Tamie Marie Samuels, age 46, from North Liberty, Iowa, was convicted of one count of making a false statement in an immigration matter. The verdict was returned Monday afternoon following about thirty minutes of jury deliberations.

The evidence at trial showed that on March 11, 2015, Samuels filed an immigration petition to help her husband, who she married on February 3, 2015, gain legal status to remain in the United States. Samuels’ husband is from Jamaica and he entered the United States on a visitor visa on February 1, 2015. In the immigration petition, Samuels falsely claimed she had never filed a petition for an alien relative before. Samuels had previously filed a petition for an alien relative in 1997 for her second husband who was from Peru. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reviews immigration petitions and investigates whether the marital relationships indicate marriage fraud. By denying that she filed a previous immigration petition, USCIS was unaware of Samuels’ previous filing which could have impacted USCIS’ review of the new petition.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Samuels remains free on bond previously set pending sentencing. Samuels faces a possible maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, $100 in special assessments, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel C. Tvedt and was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.

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