By WMBF News Staff | May 27, 2021 at 12:04 PM EDT – Updated May 27 at 3:36 PM
NEW BERN, N.C. (WMBF) – A former Fort Bragg soldier was sentenced to almost four years in prison for marriage fraud and conspiracy, prosecutors said.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, 37-year-old Ebenezer Yeboah Asane, aka “Ben,” was sentenced Thursday to 44 months in jail and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the charges on Aug. 18, 20202.
While operating from Fort Bragg and his home in Fayetteville, N.C., Asane planned and organized the sham marriages of several foreign nationals from Ghana to U.S. Army soldiers based at Fort Bragg, according to court documents and other information presented in court.
The purpose of the conspiracy was for the foreign-born nationals to evade U.S. immigration laws and obtain lawful permanent residence status and for the soldiers to receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to live off post, as opposed to the barracks, the release stated.
Prosecutors said Asane recruited additional soldiers into the scheme to orchestrate photographs to give the appearance the marriages were legitimate and to submit false statements to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service in support of the sham marriages.
Once charged, Asane also attempted to obstruct justice by asking a witness he knew had been called to testify to lie under oath, the release stated.
The investigation of these cases is ongoing and being conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, the Criminal Investigation Division at Fort Bragg and the EDNC Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gabriel Diaz prosecuted the case, according to the press release.
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