Two Fort Bragg soldiers and two African immigrants were indicted Thursday by a North Carolina grand jury, according to a release from the state’s Eastern District U.S. attorney.
Sgt. Edward Anguah and Spc. Ahmid Mohammed-Murtadaas, along with Nigerian citizen Kwaphoom Hoomkwap and Ghanaian citizen Sulemana Ibrahim, face federal charges stemming from a ring of soldiers who attempted to pair up female soldiers with foreign citizens, exchanging legal residency for Army marriage benefits and cash.
“The charges and allegations contained in the indictments are merely accusations,” according to the release. “The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.”
An investigation by the Department of Homeland Security kicked off in December, after Army officials notified federal agents that a female soldier at Fort Bragg had entered into a contract marriage, arranged by other soldiers, with a Ghanaian immigrant.
Pvt. Endasia East had been under investigation for an inappropriate relationship with another soldier in the 7th Air Defense Artillery Brigade when she told an Army Criminal Investigation Command special agent that her marriage was a sham.
She had married Ibrahim in July, according to court records, while Anguah and Murtadaas coordinated travel and paperwork.
Anguah faces up to 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, harboring an alien to come to the U.S. and visa fraud, according to the release.
Hoomkwap and Murtadaas faces 15 years and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and harboring certain aliens to come to the U.S.
Ibrahim faces 35 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, marriage fraud, harboring certain aliens to come to the U.S., visa fraud and making false statements under oath.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.