According to the Department of Justice, a Maryland pastor was indicted last week for allegedly arranging 60 fraudulent marriages in the past seven years in order to give foreigners permanent residence in the United States.
Pastor Joshua Olatokunbo Shonubi, who leads NewLife City Church, Inc. in Hyattsville, was indicted for arranging the fraudulent marriages of American citizens with foreign nationals between January 2014 and January 2021.
As stated in the indictment, Shonubi, 50, often “recruited and groomed U.S. citizens, including economically disadvantaged citizens, with payments and promises of money in exchange for marrying foreign nationals, then sponsoring the foreign nationals for permanent residence in the United States through USCIS,” the Justice Department said.
Additionally, Shonubi allegedly created and signed “at least 38 reference letters” on NewLife’s letterhead on behalf of the foreign nationals’ application for permanent residence. In the letters, Shonubi allegedly falsely stated “his relation to the parties; the nature of the marriage; his role in providing spiritual guidance or counseling; and his belief as to the romantic nature of the marriage,” the seven-count indictment says.
The pastor was also accused of creating at least 34 fake rental leases, listing his company, Jaypro, as the landlord to prove that the couple was living together even though they were living separately.
“If convicted, Shonubi faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit visa fraud and marriage fraud and a maximum of five years in federal prison for each of six counts of presenting false documents to a federal government agency,” the Justice Department said.
In a separate incident earlier this year, Pastor Rudolph Brooks Jr., the founder and senior pastor of the Kingdom Tabernacle of Restoration Ministries in Washington, D.C., was arrested in April for fraudulently obtaining $1.5 Million in loans under the Paycheck Protection Program and spending the money for personal expenses, including 39 cars.
He faces up to 20 years in prison.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.