May 2, 2013

A pair of Ugandan nationals, who have been living in Maine, facing jail time and deportation

By Dennis Hoey
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — A pair of Ugandan nationals are facing jail time and deportation for their roles in a marriage fraud conspiracy.

United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced Thursday that 35-year-old Ronald Serunjogi of Saco was convicted of marriage fraud on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Evidence presented during the jury trial showed that Serunjogi helped Sampson Sengoonzi marry a Lewiston woman – who is a U.S. citizen – in October 2008. The men paid the woman money, an arrangement which made it possible for Sengoonzi to stay in Maine.

Sengoonzi came to this country on a tourist visa but overstayed his visa, according to Assistant United States Attorney Stacey Neumann.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Serunjogi also helped Sengoonzi prepare submissions to immigration authorities in support of his application for permanent resident status. But Immigration authorities detected fraud and referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for a criminal investigation.

Sengoonzi has already been convicted and ordered deported, but Neumann said Thursday that she is not certain if Sengoonzi is still in the country.

Serunjogi will be sentenced at a later date. He is facing up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Neumann said Sengoonzi’s wife, whose name has not been released yet, is expected to plead guilty on Friday in U.S. District Court to marriage fraud. She could also face up to five years in prison.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

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