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O.C. family arrested on suspicion of arranging fake marriages for illegal immigrants

April 6, 2011 |  7:44 pm

Three members of an Orange County family were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of arranging fake marriages for illegal immigrants who paid up to $60,000 apiece for documents.

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

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

Authorities said Ajit Kumar Bhargava, 61, his wife, Nisha Bhargava, 56, and their daughter, Runjhun Bhargava, 30, were arrested on 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 with 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

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