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City of Austin employee sentenced to year in prison for sham marriage to gain U.S. citizenship

2 Aug

By Katie Hall – American-Statesman Staff

A city of Austin employee was sentenced to a year in prison for marrying a man back in 2011 for the sole purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship, federal officials said Monday.

Nancy Chan, a 39-year-old British citizen, was convicted in January of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Chan, who was sentenced Thursday, was previously a Code Compliance administrator for the city of Austin who made roughly $91,600 a year, city records show. She worked for the city until Feb. 8.

Federal officials said two of Chan’s friends, Luis Morales and Isabel Metzler, made a plan with Chan for her to marry a person they knew in order to obtain U.S. citizenship.

In 2014, Chan and her spouse submitted documentation so Chan could obtain Lawfully Admitted Permanent Resident status and seek naturalization.

“Chan and her spouse were subsequently interviewed separately by an officer of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to determine the validity of their marriage,” the Department of Justice wrote in a statement Monday. “Their answers to questions posed by the officer contained numerous inconsistencies, which revealed that the marriage was a sham.”

Metzler and Morales each face up to five years in prison for pleading guilty to committing marriage fraud and pleading guilty to making a false statement to authorities, respectively.