New Jersey Woman Sentenced to Prison for Immigration Marriage Fraud

New Jersey Woman Sentenced to Prison for Immigration Marriage Fraud

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that on AUDREY BONET JOHNSON, 34, of Irvington, New Jersey, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to seven months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for an immigration marriage fraud offense.  Judge Shea also ordered Johnson to serve 45 days in a halfway house when she is released from prison.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on March 1, 2012, Johnson, a U.S. citizen, and Shanon St. Aubyn Stephenson, a citizen of Jamaica, entered into a fraudulent marriage.  Shortly thereafter, Johnson and Stephenson applied to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS) for Stephenson to become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., often called a “green card.”  Following an interview with the USCIS in 2012, Stephenson was issued a temporary, two-year green card.  In subsequent submissions and statements to the USCIS, Johnson and Stephenson claimed to be married and living together in Brooklyn, New York.  In fact, Stephenson married Jodian Stephenson, also known as Jodian Gordon, in 2010, and lived with her, and not Johnson, in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

This investigation revealed that Jodian Stephenson, a citizen of Jamaica, operated Stephenson Immigration and Legal Services, LLC, in Bridgeport.  Between 2011 and 2017, she conspired with others to arrange 28 sham marriages between U.S. citizens and non-citizens residing in the U.S. for the purpose of the non-citizens’ applying for and obtaining  green cards.  One of the sham marriages was between Johnson and Shanon Stephenson, and another was between Jodian Stephenson and a U.S. citizen.

On October 1, 2021, Johnson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit immigration marriage fraud.  Johnson, who was released on bond, was remanded to custody at the conclusion of the sentencing proceeding.

Jodian Stephenson and Shanon Stephenson pleaded guilty to the same charge.  On August 26, 2021, Jodian Stephenson was sentenced to six months of imprisonment.  Shanon Stephenson awaits sentencing.

Ten individuals were charged as a result of this investigation, and all pleaded guilty.  Removal proceedings have been or are being commenced against all individuals whose green card applications were found to have been based on sham marriages.

This investigation has been conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Office of Fraud Detection and National Security.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine E. Boyles.

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