A Ghanaian national was convicted by a federal jury in Boston yesterday in connection with entering into a false marriage in order to obtain citizenship.

Samer El-Sayed, 33, was convicted by a federal jury of one count of willfully and knowingly making false statements; one count of making false statements under oath relative to naturalization, citizenship or alien registry; and one count of unlawful attempted procurement of citizenship or naturalization. U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs scheduled sentencing for April 17, 2018.

In June 2008, El-Sayed entered the United States on a non-immigrant visa. In February 2009, El-Sayed entered into a sham marriage with an 18-year-old United States citizen to whom he paid several thousand dollars. Thereafter, El-Sayed began filing various petitions and applications with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to obtain immigration benefits, and in March 2010, El-Sayed was granted conditional permanent resident status. In 2012, El-Sayed submitted false statements on a petition filed with USCIS and subsequently provided false statements under oath to USCIS during an interview that occurred in January 2014. Then, in May 2014, El-Sayed submitted an application for United States citizenship to USCIS and provided false information and statements in that application.

The charges of making false statements and making false statements under oath for naturalization each provide for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of unlawful attempted procurement of citizenship or naturalization provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. El-Sayed will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; and Denis C. Riordan, District Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, District 1, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Jacobus Sullivan of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

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