Orange County family charged with arranging fake marriages for immigrants

An Orange County couple and their daughter have recently been charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud for arranging for fake marriages for more than 20 foreigners seeking to remain in the US.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Ajit Kumar Bhargava, his wife, Nisha Bhargava, and their daughter, Runjhun Bhargava, first came to be under suspicion when 21 questionable green card applications could all be traced to their immigration business, MPEagle Consultants. In many of these cases, the same witnesses were used, and in some, the same US citizen spouse was listed for multiple applications, authorities say.

The family allegedly used an associate to recruit drug addicts and homeless American citizens to pose as spouses for their clients, appearing in photographs wearing different outfits to make it appear as though the relationship was legitimate, according to The Associated Press. The alleged cons promised these low-income Americans $2,000 for their participation but often did not pay in full, investigators allege.

Their clients, who mostly came from India, were allegedly charged as much as $60,000 for these bogus marriage services.

The mother and daughter have reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charges.