Greetings, Last August I placed an ad on craigslist looking for a person who could rent my newly finished basement. After getting offers from a few individuals, I settled for a single girl who seemed to have her affairs in order and had a good job. I wanted to go by the book. Therefore, I performed a background check and a credit report
on her with her consent. When she moved in, we signed a lease
agreement. She paid her rent on time every month. She was clean, hard-working and virtually invisible. In fact, we were very happy with her and everything worked just fine for a whole year! That is until last Saturday when I had a visit from a lady who claimed to "work for the US marshal's office". As it turns out, they were here to serve papers to my tenant.
I wasn't home but since I own a video/audio device that allows me to answer my door remotely, I was able to talk to them and see them. Unfortunately, I was driving
and wasn't hearing too well what she was trying to say. I only realized that she had indeed identified herself as belonging to a law-enforcement agency afterward once I had the chance to review the video of the conversation (which I've enclosed here.)
After calmly confronting my tenant asking her to explain the situation, she gave me what appeared to be a fantastic but hastily put-together story. She claims that she got married to a Hispanic gentleman so that he could gain status as a US resident. She assured me that she did not get paid and that she got married to said Hispanic gentleman only as a favor and out of the goodness of her heart. She also assured me that what had started as a good gesture evolved into a real relationship with time. (Of course, I don't believe either claim.)
As it usually happens with this type of convoluted arrangements, the marriage was exposed as a sham once the authorities evaluating the status-adjustment request for him realized that he didn't speak English at all and that their stories were different! Furthermore, I believe that he may be in trouble as well because the woman who came to my door asked me if I was "Juan" or if I was my tenant's "husband". Of course, I denied it because I am not Juan, nor her husband or in a relationship with her. But I also refused to identify myself by name or as the owner of the home. I also withheld that the person they were looking for was my tenant. Notwithstanding, I did not do this maliciously, I simply failed to grasp the importance of the event that they were from the Marshal's office and instead focused on safeguarding my privacy.
As my tenant's story unraveled, she told me that she had originally traveled to NJ from Florida to marry someone else. This time for "real money", but that didn't happen. Instead, she ended up staying because she likes her job and the quality of life she enjoys here. She also alluded (however vaguely and hypothetically) to a criminal organization who sends females over state lines to marry for money and claimed not to be part of one of these.
My wife and I discussed this at length last night before suddenly realizing that my tenant's current friend is Hispanic and their regular meetings sound similar to what she mentioned she would do with her "ex-husband". His command of the English language though acceptable is not exactly perfect. This is relevant as we now believe that despite her claims, she did get married for "real money". I can't prove it though; it is only an educated guess.
I wish that was the end of it but it isn't. As fate would have it, I am also in the throes of a legal case to obtain US status. I am Mexican and happen to be married to a white American citizen. The one great difference is that we are in a loving marriage and have been married for 8 years now. We have paid taxes and lived together all this time. Moreover, we own a house and have our first baby on the way. My wife and I work and make 6 figures further obviating the need to do something so despicable and illegal as it is marrying for documents.
I'm inclined to call the US marshal's office that has jurisdiction over my city and voluntarily make my findings known to them. In other words, by exposing my wife and I to her illegal activities, I consider my tenant's actions a fatal breach of trust
My only concern is what to do or how to proceed. Should I retain legal help first? Should I call the US Marshal's office and make statements as to my findings or do I wait for them to return? And if I do, should I also mention that I suspect she may be pursuing another sham marriage with this male friend that only visits once/week?