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Illegal immigrants were charged up to $60,000 for fake marriage papers, authorities allege

April 7, 2011 |  7:57 am

Immigration officials have arrested three people in connection with the charging of up to $60,000 to arrange fake marriages for illegal immigrants, authorities said.

In all, 21 suspicious visa petitions were traced back to the business, MPEagle Consultants, which is alleged to have charged $15,000 to $60,000 for its services, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said.

The three suspects -- all members of one family -- owns an immigration-consulting business that caters primarily to Indian nationals who sought marriage certificates and work visas, according to federal authorities.

Authorities said Ajit Kumar Bhargava, 61; his wife, Nisha Bhargava, 56; and their daughter, Runjhun Bhargava, 30; were arrested on suspicion of immigration fraud charges after being named in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. They are Yorba Linda residents.

Federal authorities said they launched their investigation in September 2009 after they noticed suspicious similarities among the business' visa applications. In some cases, the same "spouses" and marriage witnesses were used, according to authorities.


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-- Robert J. Lopez
Twitter: @LAJourno