Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, June 21, 2013

Rojas: Marriage Fraud Prosecution Barred by Statute of Limitations

In U.S. v. Rojas, No. 12-15364 (June 20, 2013), the Court held that a marriage fraud prosecution was barred by the five-year statute of limitation, because the indictment was filed more than five years after the date the couple married.

The government claimed that the crime was not complete until investigators interviewed the couple and “became aware of the fraud” and of the marriage’s unlawful purpose, or until the defendants took the additional step of filing for immigration benefits. Rejecting these arguments, the Court held that marriage fraud is not a “continuing offense,” but is complete once the couple “enters into” the marriage.