Ruth Marie Sequoyah McCoy, an EBCI tribal member, was sentenced to two years probation and a $2,000 fine in federal court in Asheville on Thursday, Aug. 23 after having pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud in March.
According to her plea, “McCoy knew that the marriages she sponsored were entered into for the purpose of evading the immigration laws, and that they were therefore not legitimate. She knew that the participants needed her financial sponsorship in order to succeed in securing legal status on the basis of their marriages to United States citizens.”
A federal criminal bill of indictment, unsealed in June 2017, charged 12 individuals with marriage fraud conspiracy and related charges, for entering into sham marriages for the purposes of evading United States immigration laws. Four of those individuals pleaded guilty in the case in November to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud including Kaila Cucumber, Kevin Swayney, Jordan Littlejohn, and Jessica Gonzalez – all of Cherokee.
According to allegations contained in the criminal bill of indictment, beginning in or about June 2015, and continuing through December 2016, in Swain and Jackson counties, the defendants engaged in a fraudulent marriage scheme, in which foreign nationals paid to enter into fraudulent marriages with United States citizens, in order to secure lawful, permanent residence in the United States.
– One Feather staff report