Federal Judge Sentences Former Eagle Pass C.B.P. Officers in Marriage Fraud Scheme
In Del Rio today, a federal judge sentenced two former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry for participating in a marriage fraud scheme announced United States Attorney John F. Bash; Special Agent in Charge Javier Enriquez, Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility (CBP-OPR), El Paso Field Office; and, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) District Director Mario Ortiz.
United States District Judge Alia Moses sentenced 46-year-old Isabel Metzler to six months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. Judge Moses also sentenced Metzler’s husband, 37-year-old Luis Morales, to five years probation. Furthermore, Judge Moses ordered that Metzler and Morales pay fines of $7,500 and $5,000, respectively.
On July 27, 2017, Judge Moses sentenced a co-defendant in this case, Nancy Chan, to 12 months imprisonment. On January 19, 2017, a federal jury convicted Chan, a citizen of the United Kingdom and former City of Austin employee, of one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. During Chan’s two-day trial Metzler pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud; Morales pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to a federal agent.
Testimony during trial revealed that after discussing her immigration status with her friend, Isabel Metzler, Nancy Chan entered into a fraudulent marriage agreement with a person known to Metzler and Morales for the purpose of becoming a lawfully permanent resident. On March 2, 2011, in Maverick County, Chan married the U.S. citizen. In 2014, Chan and her legal spouse submitted false documentation to obtain Lawfully Admitted Permanent Resident (LAPR) status for Chan and to seek naturalization. Chan and her spouse were subsequently interviewed separately by a USCIS officer to determine the validity of their marriage. Their answers to questions posed by the officer contained numerous inconsistencies, which revealed that the marriage was a sham.
By pleading guilty, Metzler admitted to her role in setting up and attempting to conceal the fraudulent marriage scheme. Morales admitted that on February 9, 2016, he lied to CBP-OPR investigators about his knowledge of the marriage fraud scheme and for convincing Chan’s spouse to maintain the marriage charade to authorities.
CBP-OPR, together with the USCIS, FBI and the Austin Police Department, investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Todd Keagle, Chris Blanton, and Patrick Burke prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.