An investigation into a scam involving attempts to secure legal permanent residence in the United States for Cambodians by staging fake marriages has led to a second indictment, according to US media reports.
A Fox News affiliate based in the US state of Kentucky reported that the second indictment implicated “dozens of people”.
In April, a 25-year-old American man pleaded guilty to charges of marriage fraud and conspiracy to commit marriage fraud in connection with the scam.
The US Department of Justice had alleged that the man was one figure in a “large-scale marriage-fraud ring” that involved US citizens travelling to Cambodia and engaging in “fraudulent marriages”.
The defendants have been accused of staging photos with their Cambodian fiancées at tourist locations throughout Cambodia in order to create the illusion of a long-term relationship.
The Kentucky-based Louisville Courier-Journal reported in April that those arrested were recruited and bribed US$1,000 to $5,000 to enter into engagements with Cambodians, and then paid matching amounts after marriages were finalised in the US. The same reported noted that 23 people had been arrested in the case.
The Fox affiliate reported this week that the defendants face up to 75 years behind bars.
Bith Kimhong, director of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau, declined to comment on the case beyond saying that it was “old”.
He said that “no new cases of fake marriage” had since been reported in Cambodia.